This is the first identification of a gene that increases susceptibility to cerebral palsy. Results of the study, published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, may enable early identification of children who are at risk for poor neuro-developmental outcome after brain injury as newborns and thus target those children for early therapeutic intervention.
The lead scientist on the study was Mark S. Wainwright, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics (neurology) and molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and the Children's Memorial Research Center. Wainwright is also a researcher in the Center for Drug Discovery and Chemical Biology at Feinberg.
Wainwright and his laboratory group compared APOE genotypes in 209 children with cerebral palsy and a matched control group of children in good health. They found that children who carry the E4 or the E2 form (or allele) of the APOE gene are not only more likely to develop cerebral palsy but also to have more severe neurologic impairment following perinatal brain injury, just as adults who carry the E4 form of the APOE gene may be more susceptible to developing Alzheimer's disease and have worse outcome after brain injury, including stroke and head injury.
Overall findings from the study showed that carrying the E4 allele was associated with greater than a threefold-elevated risk for cerebral palsy. The risk was higher for children with quadriplegia/triplegia and was associated with more severe motor impairment in this group.
Cerebral palsy affects two in every 1,000 school-aged children in the United States, has an annual economic toll on society estimated at $5 billion and is the most costly of the clinically significant birth defects in the United States.
Cerebral palsy encompasses a diverse group of disorders characterized by non-progressive impairment of motor function resulting from injury to the developing brain. Cerebral palsy is often associated with impaired intellectual function, sensory deficits, behavioral disorders and seizures. In the majority of cases, a specific cause for cerebral palsy cannot be identified.
The protein apoE that is coded by the APOE gene is produced in the brain, where it plays multiple roles, including protecting against injury. Wainwright said that the contribution of the APOE gene to susceptibility to neurologic injury might vary with age and the nature of the brain injury.
"People who carry the E4 allele may not be able to recover as effectively from a brain injury, making these newborns at greater risk for developing cerebral palsy," he said.
Wainwright hopes to conduct additional studies to confirm these findings in other populations and to evaluate the role of the apoE protein in specific biochemical pathways in the brain for development of cerebral palsy after perinatal brain injury.
Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy