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Articles by R. B Weiss
Total Records ( 2 ) for R. B Weiss
  R. W Kaspar , H. D Allen , W. C Ray , C. E Alvarez , J. T Kissel , A Pestronk , R. B Weiss , K. M Flanigan , J. R Mendell and F. Montanaro

Background— Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) and X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy often result from deletion mutations in the dystrophin gene that may lead to expression of an altered dystrophin protein in cardiac muscle. Cardiac involvement is present in 70% of BMD and all X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy cases. To date, the timing of cardiomyopathy development remains unpredictable. We analyzed 78 BMD and X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy patients with common deletion mutations predicted to alter the dystrophin protein and correlated their mutations to cardiomyopathy age of onset. This approach was chosen to connect dystrophin structure with function in the heart.

Methods and Results— Detailed cardiac information was collected for BMD and X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy patients with defined dystrophin gene deletion mutations. Patients were grouped based on the dystrophin protein domain affected by the deletion. Deletions affecting the amino-terminal domain are associated with early-onset dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM; mid-20s), whereas deletions removing part of the rod domain and hinge 3 have a later-onset DCM (mid-40s). Further, we modeled the effects of the most common mutations occurring in the rod domain on the overall structure of the dystrophin protein. By combining genetic and protein information, this analysis revealed a strong correlation between specific protein structural modifications and DCM age of onset.

Conclusions— We identified specific regions of the dystrophin gene that when mutated predispose BMD patients to early-onset DCM. In addition, we propose that some mutations lead to early-onset DCM by specific alterations in protein folding. These findings have potential implications for early intervention in the cardiac care of BMD patients and for therapeutic approaches that target the heart in dystrophinopathies.

  T. B Baker , R. B Weiss , D Bolt , A von Niederhausern , M. C Fiore , D. M Dunn , M. E Piper , N Matsunami , S. S Smith , H Coon , W. M McMahon , M. B Scholand , N Singh , J. R Hoidal , S. Y Kim , M. F Leppert and D. S. Cannon

Previous research revealed significant associations between haplotypes in the CHRNA5-A3-B4 subunit cluster and scores on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence among individuals reporting daily smoking by age 17. The present study used subsamples of participants from that study to investigate associations between the CHRNA5-A3-B4 haplotypes and an array of phenotypes not analyzed previously (i.e., withdrawal severity, ability to stop smoking, and specific scales on the Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM-68) that reflect loss of control, strong craving, and heavy smoking.


Two cohorts of current or former smokers (N = 886) provided both self-report data and DNA samples. One sample (Wisconsin) comprised smokers making a quit smoking attempt, which permitted the assessment of withdrawal and relapse during the attempt. The other sample (Utah) comprised participants studied for risk factors for nicotine dependence and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and included individuals originally recruited in the Lung Health Study.


The CHRNA5-A3-B4 haplotypes were significantly associated with the targeted WISDM-68 scales (Tolerance, Craving, Loss of Control) in both samples of participants but only among individuals who began smoking early in life. The haplotypes were significantly associated with relapse likelihood and withdrawal severity, but these associations showed no evidence of an interaction with age at daily smoking.


The CHRNA5-A3-B4 haplotypes are associated with a broad range of nicotine dependence phenotypes, but these associations are not consistently moderated by age at initial smoking.

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