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See detailGene-corrected p.A30P SNCA patient-derived isogenic neurons rescue neuronal branching and function
Barbuti, Peter A; Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; Santos, Bruno FR et al

in Scientific Reports (2021), 11

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons and the pathological accumulation of alpha-synuclein. The p.A30P SNCA mutation generates the pathogenic form of the ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons and the pathological accumulation of alpha-synuclein. The p.A30P SNCA mutation generates the pathogenic form of the alpha-synuclein protein causing an autosomal-dominant form of PD. There are limited studies assessing pathogenic SNCA mutations in patient-derived isogenic cell models. Here we provide a functional assessment of dopaminergic neurons derived from a patient harbouring the p.A30P SNCA mutation. Using two clonal gene-corrected isogenic cell lines we identified image-based phenotypes showing impaired neuritic processes. The pathological neurons displayed impaired neuronal activity, reduced mitochondrial respiration, an energy deficit, vulnerability to rotenone, and transcriptional alterations in lipid metabolism. Our data describes for the first time the mutation-only effect of the p.A30P SNCA mutation on neuronal function, supporting the use of isogenic cell lines in identifying image-based pathological phenotypes that can serve as an entry point for future disease-modifying compound screenings and drug discovery strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailThe retrograde procedural memory in people with Parkinson’s disease with or without freezing of gait – a cross-sectional study
Pauly, Laure UL; Rauschenberger, Armin UL; Pauly, Claire UL et al

Poster (2021, September 17)

Objective: To investigate the retrograde procedural memory in people with typical Parkinson’s disease (PwP) with or without freezing of gait (FOG). We hypothesized that the retrograde procedural memory is ... [more ▼]

Objective: To investigate the retrograde procedural memory in people with typical Parkinson’s disease (PwP) with or without freezing of gait (FOG). We hypothesized that the retrograde procedural memory is more strongly impaired in patients with FOG (FOG+) than in patients without FOG (FOG-). Background: Given that cognitive functions, like executive control and automaticity, are crucial for mobility, it is of great importance to get a deeper knowledge of the cognitive impairment that may interfere with walking and causing gait disturbances in PwP, i.e. FOG. The integrity of retrograde procedural memory, the ability to execute skills that have been learned in earlier life stages, is essential for a person’s ability to complete routine, procedural activities like walking. As FOG is characterized as a de-automatization disorder, we hypothesized an impairment of the retrograde procedural memory in patients with FOG. Methods: A total of 194 patients from the Luxembourg Parkinson’s study were included into the cross-sectional study. All patients were assigned to the FOG+ / FOG- groups based on a semi-structured interview conducted by a study physician. The extended evaluation system of the cube copying test was applied to evaluate both the cube-drawing procedure, representing the retrograde procedural memory, and the final result, representing the visuo-constructive abilities (Pauly et al., 2020, MDS abstract). We compared the cube copying performance of n=97 FOG+ with n=97 age-, gender- and education-matched FOG-. Results: FOG+ scored lower on the cube copying procedure compared to the FOG- (p=0.027), which is suggestive of an impaired retrograde procedural memory in FOG+. No significant differences in the visuo-constructional abilities were detected (p=0.945). Conclusion: In line with FOG being considered a de-automatization of walking, a skill acquired in earlier life stages, the present results suggest that PwP with FOG have an impaired retrograde procedural memory in comparison to PwP without FOG. The results lend support to the ability of the extended evaluation system of the cube copying test to assess impaired retrograde procedural memory and help improve our understanding of behavioral symptoms in PwP. [less ▲]

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See detailPeripheral decarboxylase inhibitors paradoxically induce aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase
Krüger, Rejko UL; Pavelka, Lukas UL; Mollenhauer, Brit et al

in NPJ Parkinson's Disease (2021)

Peripheral decarboxylase inhibitors (PDIs) prevent the conversion of levodopa to dopamine in the blood by the enzyme aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). Alterations in enzyme activity may ... [more ▼]

Peripheral decarboxylase inhibitors (PDIs) prevent the conversion of levodopa to dopamine in the blood by the enzyme aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). Alterations in enzyme activity may contribute to the required higher dosages of levodopa observed in many patients with Parkinson’s disease. We evaluated the effect of levodopa/PDI use on serum AADC enzyme activity. Serum AADC enzyme activity was evaluated in three independent cohorts of patients with Parkinson’s disease or parkinsonism (n = 301) and compared between patients on levodopa/PDI vs. patients not on this medication. AADC enzyme activity was elevated in 62% of patients on levodopa/PDI treatment, compared to 19% of patients not on levodopa/PDI (median 90 mU/L vs. 50 mU/L, p < 0.001). Patients with elevated AADC activity had longer disease duration and higher doses of levodopa/PDI. These findings may implicate that peripheral AADC induction could underlie a waning effect of levodopa, necessitating dose increases to maintain a sustained therapeutic effect. [less ▲]

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See detailPrevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Luxembourgish population: the CON-VINCE study.
Snoeck, Chantal J.; Vaillant, Michel; Abdelrahman, Tamir et al

E-print/Working paper (2020)

BACKGROUND: After the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease to be a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, the first SARS-CoV-2 infection ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: After the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus disease to be a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020, the first SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected in Luxembourg on February 29, 2020. Representative population-based data, including asymptomatic individuals for assessing the viral spread and immune response were, however, lacking worldwide. METHODS: Using a panel-based method, we implemented a representative sample of the Luxembourgish population based on age, gender and residency for testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection and antibody status in order to define prevalence irrespective of clinical symptoms. Participants were contacted via email to fill an online questionnaire before biosampling at local laboratories. All participants provided information related to clinical symptoms, epidemiology, socioeconomic and psychological assessments and underwent biosampling, rRT-PCR testing and serology for SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: We included a total of 1862 individuals in our representative sample of the general Luxembourgish population. Of these, 5 individuals had a current positive result for infection with SARS-CoV-2 based on rRT-PCR. Four of these individuals were oligosymptomatic and one was asymptomatic. Overall we found a positive IgG antibody status in 35 individuals (1.97%), of which 11 reported to be tested positive by rRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 previously and showed in addition their IgG positive status also a positive status for IgA. Our data indicate a prevalence of 0.3% for active SARS-CoV-2 infection and an infection rate of 2.15% in the Luxembourgish population between 18 and 79 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Luxembourgish residents show a low rate of acute infections after 7 weeks of confinement and present with an antibody profile indicative of a more recent immune response to SARS-CoV-2. All infected individuals were oligo- or asymptomatic. Bi-weekly follow-up visits over the next 2 months will inform about the viral spread by a- and oligosymptomatic carriers and the individual changes in the immune profile.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Clinical TrialNCT04379297Funding StatementThe CON-VINCE Study is funded by the Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR; CON-VINCE) and the André Losch Foundation (Luxembourg).Author DeclarationsAll relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript.YesAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesDue to ethical concerns, supporting data cannot be made openly available. [less ▲]

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See detailMultilingual Validation of the First French Version of Munich Dysphagia Test-Parkinson's Disease (MDT-PD) in the Luxembourg Parkinson's Study
Simons, Janine UL; Vaillant, Michel; Hipp Epouse D'amico, Géraldine UL et al

in Frontiers in Neurology (2019)

The Munich Dysphagia Test for Parkinson's disease (MDT-PD) was initially developed and validated in the German population as a highly sensitive and specific self-reported screening questionnaire to detect ... [more ▼]

The Munich Dysphagia Test for Parkinson's disease (MDT-PD) was initially developed and validated in the German population as a highly sensitive and specific self-reported screening questionnaire to detect early oropharyngeal symptoms and aspiration risk in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (iPD). In order to make this tool accessible for prevention in the French speaking populations worldwide, we performed the first French translation and provide a linguistic and psychometric validation in the unique multilingual environment of the Luxembourg Parkinson's Study. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study: A Comprehensive Approach for Stratification and Early Diagnosis
Hipp Epouse D'amico, Géraldine UL; Vaillant, Michel; Diederich, Nico J. et al

in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (2018), 10

While genetic advances have successfully defined part of the complexity in Parkinson’s disease (PD), the clinical characterization of phenotypes remains challenging. Therapeutic trials and cohort studies ... [more ▼]

While genetic advances have successfully defined part of the complexity in Parkinson’s disease (PD), the clinical characterization of phenotypes remains challenging. Therapeutic trials and cohort studies typically include patients with earlier disease stages and exclude comorbidities, thus ignoring a substantial part of the real-world PD population. To account for these limitations, we implemented the Luxembourg PD study as a comprehensive clinical, molecular and device-based approach including patients with typical PD and atypical parkinsonism, irrespective of their disease stage, age, comorbidities, or linguistic background. To provide a large, longitudinally followed, and deeply phenotyped set of patients and controls for clinical and fundamental research on PD, we implemented an open-source digital platform that can be harmonized with international PD cohort studies. Our interests also reflect Luxembourg-specific areas of PD research, including vision, gait, and cognition. This effort is flanked by comprehensive biosampling efforts assuring high quality and sustained availability of body liquids and tissue biopsies. We provide evidence for the feasibility of such a cohort program with deep phenotyping and high quality biosampling on parkinsonism in an environment with structural specificities and alert the international research community to our willingness to collaborate with other centers. The combination of advanced clinical phenotyping approaches including device-based assessment will create a comprehensive assessment of the disease and its variants, its interaction with comorbidities and its progression. We envision the Luxembourg Parkinson’s study as an important research platform for defining early diagnosis and progression markers that translate into stratified treatment approaches. [less ▲]

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