The duty to recontact: attitudes of genetics service providers.
The term "duty to recontact" refers to the possible ethical and/or legal obligation of genetics service providers (GSPs) to recontact former patients about advances in research that might be relevant to them. Although currently this practice is not part of standard care, some argue that such an obligation may be established in the future. Little information is available, however, on the implications of this requirement, from the point of view of GSPs. To explore the opinions of genetics professionals on this issue, we sent a self-administered questionnaire to 1,000 randomly selected U.S. and Canadian members of the American Society of Human Genetics. We received 252 completed questionnaires. The major categories of respondents were physician geneticist (41%), Ph.D. geneticist (30%), and genetic counselor (18%); 72% of the total stated that they see patients. Respondents indicated that responsibility for staying in contact should be shared between health professionals and patients. Respondents were divided about whether recontacting patients should be the standard of care: 46% answered yes, 43% answered no, and 11% did not know. Those answering yes included 44% of physician geneticists, 53% of Ph.D. geneticists, and 31% of genetic counselors; answers were statistically independent of position or country of practice but were dependent on whether the respondent sees patients (43% answered yes) or not (54% answered yes). There also was a lack of consensus about the possible benefits and burdens of recontacting patients and about various alternative methods of informing patients about research advances. Analysis of qualitative data suggested that most respondents consider recontacting patients an ethically desirable, but not feasible, goal. Points to consider in the future development of guidelines for practice are presented. (+info)
Neurological complications of neurofibromatosis type 1 in adulthood.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a genetic disease with a wide range of neurological manifestations. To examine these, and to evaluate neurological morbidity in adulthood of patients with NF1, we studied a hospital-based series of 158 patients that included 138 adult patients aged >18 years and 20 children. NF1 evaluation included a multidisciplinary clinical and a clinically oriented radiological investigation. Neurological events occurring during childhood (in both children and adults of the series) and adulthood were recorded. One or several neurological manifestations have been observed in 55% of patients (adults and children) (n = 87). These included: headache (28 patients); hydrocephalus (7); epilepsy (5); lacunar stroke (1); white matter disease (1); intraspinal neurofibroma (3); facial palsy (1); radiculopathy (5); and polyneuropathy (2). Tumours included: optic pathway tumours (20); meningioma (2); cerebral glioma (3); and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (6). Life-threatening complications were observed in five adults and included four malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours and one meningioma. Pain was the leading symptom in 11 adults and was related to malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours, complications of intraspinal neurofibromas, subcutaneous neurofibromas and peripheral nerve neurofibromas. NF1 in adults was not associated with other disabling or life-threatening neurological complications. Symptomatic optic pathway tumours, cerebral gliomas, symptomatic aqueductal stenosis and spinal compression due to intraspinal NF were observed exclusively during childhood. In this series, the predominant neurological features of adults with NF1 were chronic pain and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours. (+info)
Von Hippel's disease in association with von Recklinghausen's neurofibromatosis.
Ten members of a large family who showed manifestations of either von Hippel-Lindau disease or von Recklinghausen's neurofibromatosis were examined. Three of 10 members were found to have retinal angiomas which had not been present on fundus examination 3 years previously. These angiomas were associated with ocular and systemic signs of neurofibromatosis. These cases show overlapping manifestations of different phakomatoses and provide support for the concept of a common aetiology for these diseases. (+info)
Spontaneous haemothorax: a cause of sudden death in von Recklinghausen's disease.
Vasculopathy is a relatively frequent but poorly recognised manifestation of von Recklinghausen's neurofibromatosis. One of its more dramatic presentations is as spontaneous haemothorax. Clinicians and pathologists should be aware of this syndrome as a cause of sudden death in patients with neurofibromatosis. (+info)
A clinical study of type 1 neurofibromatosis in north west England.
A clinical study of patients on the North West Regional Genetic Register with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) identified 523 affected cases from 304 families. In those for whom relevant information was available, 86.7% (383 of 442) had more than six cafe au lait patches, 83.8% (310 of 370) had axillary freckling, 42.3% (151 of 357) had inguinal freckling, and 63% (157 of 249) had Lisch nodules. Cutaneous neurofibromas were present in 59.4% (217 of 365) and 45.5% (150 of 330) were noted to have subcutaneous tumours. Plexiform neurofibromas were present in 15.3% (80 of 523). A positive family history of NF1 was found in 71.2% (327 of 459) and 28.8% (132 of 459) of affected patients were considered to be the result of a new mutation. Learning difficulties of varying severity occurred in 62% (186 of 300). CNS tumours associated with NF1 were reported in 9.4% (49) of patients, optic gliomas occurring in 25 of these, 4.8% of patients. Some degree of scoliosis was reported for 11.7% (61), 1.9% (10) had pseudoarthrosis, 4.3% (23) had epilepsy, and 2.1% (11) had spinal neurofibromas. Actuarial analyses were carried out for both optic glioma and malignant nerve sheath tumours and the data are presented. (+info)
The Nf1 tumor suppressor regulates mouse skin wound healing, fibroblast proliferation, and collagen deposited by fibroblasts.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 patients develop peripheral nerve tumors (neurofibromas) composed mainly of Schwann cells and fibroblasts, in an abundant collagen matrix produced by fibroblasts. Trauma has been proposed to trigger neurofibroma formation. To test if loss of the neurofibromatosis type 1 gene (Nf1) compromises fibroblast function in vivo following trauma, skin wounding was performed in Nf1 knockout mice. The pattern and amount of collagen-rich granulation bed tissue, manufactured by fibroblasts, was grossly abnormal in 60% of Nf1+/- wounds. Nf1 mutant fibroblasts showed cell autonomous abnormalities in collagen deposition in vitro that were not mimicked by Ras activation in fibroblasts, even though some Nf1 effects are mediated through Ras. Nf1+/- skin wound fibroblasts also proliferated past the normal wound maturation phase; this in vivo effect was potentiated by muscle injury. In vitro, Nf1+/- fibroblasts showed higher proliferation in 10% serum than Nf1+/+ fibroblasts. Macrophage-conditioned media or epidermal growth factor potentiated Nf1+/- fibroblast proliferation in vitro, demonstrating abnormal response of mutant fibroblasts to wound cytokines. Thus Nf1 is a key regulator of fibroblast responses to injury, and Nf1 mutation in mouse fibroblasts causes abnormalities characteristic of human neurofibromas. (+info)
Haploinsufficiency for the neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) tumor suppressor results in increased astrocyte proliferation.
Individuals affected with neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) harbor increased numbers of GFAP-immunoreactive cerebral astrocytes and develop astrocytomas that can lead to blindness and death. Mice heterozygous for a targeted Nf1 mutation (Nf1+/-) were employed as a model for the human disease to evaluate the hypothesis that reduced NF1 protein (neurofibromin) expression may confer a growth advantage for astrocytes, such that inactivation of only one NF1 allele is sufficient for abnormal astrocyte proliferation. Here, we report that Nf17+/- mice have increased numbers of cerebral astrocytes and increased astrocyte proliferation compared to wild-type littermates. Intriguingly, primary Nf1+/- astrocyte cultures failed to demonstrate a cell-autonomous growth advantage unless they were cocultured with C17 neuronal cells. This C17 neuronal cell-induced Nf1+/- increase in proliferation was blocked by MEK inhibition (PD98059), suggesting a p21-ras-dependent effect. Furthermore, mice heterozygous for a targeted mutation in another GAP molecule, p120-GAP, demonstrated no increases in cerebral astrocyte number. These findings suggest that reduced NF1 expression results in a cell context-dependent increase in astrocyte proliferation that may be sufficient for the development of astrocytic growth abnormalities in patients with NF1. (+info)
Aberrant cutaneous expression of the angiogenic factor midkine is associated with neurofibromatosis type-1.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a common autosomal dominant disorder (incidence 1:3500) characterized by lesions that include neural crest derivatives such as Schwann cells and melanocytes. A critical event in the pathogenesis of neurofibromatosis type 1 is the heterozygous germ-line loss of the tumor suppressor gene NF1. Additional genetic and/or epigenetic events have been posited, including various alterations in growth factor expression. By in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate aberrant expression of the angiogenic and tumorigenic growth factor midkine in the skin of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1, but not normal individuals. We demonstrate that midkine expression is independent of the presence of neurofibromas, and thus appears to be associated with mutations in the NF1 gene. Furthermore, midkine-containing culture media is shown to stimulate the growth of human endothelial and neurofibroma-derived cells. In conclusion, we introduce the skin as a source of dysregulated growth factors in neurofibromatosis type 1, and suggest the further study of the angiogenic factor midkine in neurofibromatosis type 1 pathogenesis. (+info)