Projects

Under the guidance of our Scientific Advisory Board through a carefully managed grants process, FPWR selects research projects based on the collaborative input of researchers and parents, choosing projects that are both scientifically meritorious and highly relevant for individuals with PWS and their families.

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INVESTIGATING A NEW POTENTIAL TARGET FOR TREATMENT IN PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary Dr. Rice and colleagues have shown that there is a decrease in GABA (a compound that helps turn brain activity off) in the brains of individuals with PWS, and this is associated with emotional problems, including a tendency for temper outbursts.  In this project, the team will use brain imaging (fMRI) to examine whether a false

INFLUENCES OF SOCIAL COGNITION AND REWARD ON ASD SYMPTOMS AND BEHAVIOUR IN PWS

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary Social cognition, or the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, is impaired in PWS. Social reward circuitry (which places value on things in our environment) may also be altered. This impairment may contribute to oppositional behavior and ASD symptoms, which are common in PWS.

A MOUSE MODEL TO ASSESS GENETIC THERAPIES FOR PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary Genetic therapy has the potential to address the root cause of PWS, however, several feasibility questions need to be answered before we can consider genetic therapy for PWS. For example: Does activation of the PWS genes reverse symptoms in models of PWS? Which genes must be turned on? Does gene activation need to occur before a false

ENHANCING SATIATION SIGNALING TO REDUCE OVEREATING AND OBESITY IN PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary Lack of satiety, or feeling 'full', is a hallmark characteristic of PWS. Satiety mechanisms are not well understood, and it is not clear how the stomach signals the brain to stop eating. It is believed, however, that the vagus nerve to hind brain connection (NTS) may be a key part of this mechanism. In this project, Dr. Edward Fox false

The Functional Development of Hunger Neurons in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary AgRP ('hunger') neurons are found in the hypothalamus and control feeding, metabolism and compulsive behaviors. There is evidence that AgRP neurons may be overactive during development in PWS, which might lead to some of the characteristics of PWS. In this project, Dr. Dietrich will use a cutting edge technology developed in his false

CRISPR-mediated molecular dissection of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary The PWS region of chromosome 15 consists of several genes. While we know the loss of all these genes together will lead to the characteristics of PWS, we still don’t know exactly what is the contribution of each gene. In this project, Dr Talkowski's team will use CRISPR technology (a very precise way to cut out parts of the genome) false

Genomewide identification of mRNA sites of 2’-O methylation targeted by SNORD116 snoRNAs

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary While we know the loss of SNORD116 (a gene that encodes many snoRNA molecules on Chromosome 15) leads to characteristics of PWS, we do not know how this exactly works. We need to understand how SNORD116 functions normally in order to understand why the loss of this region leads to PWS. It is likely that the snoRNAs in the SNORD116 false

Targeting SMCHD1 to address the underlying cause of PWS and SYS

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary Associate Professor Blewitt and her research team study how genes shift between ‘sleeping’ to ‘awake’ states, and how this impacts a range of diseases.  “A protein called SMCHD1 keeps many genes in their sleeping state,” Associate Professor Blewitt said. “We discovered that SMCHD1’s targets include some of the maternal genes that false

Assessment of Epigenetic Driven Circadian Rhythm Defects in Neurons from Individuals with PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Dr. Reiter is analyzing neurons, made from stem cells from individuals with PWS.  He has noted disruptions in the circadian rhythm of these cells (day/night cycle) that may reflect sleep problems in PWS.  His work will identify how the circadian rhythms are disrupted in PWS cells, and pave the way for identifying new drugs to false

Identification of Critical Periods for the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Effects of Oxytocin

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This grant supports a new collaboration between two scientists with complimentary expertise. Drs. Sebastian Bouret and Francoise Muscatelli will work to define critical periods for oxytocin use in PWS models, and optimize this therapeutic approach. Mouse models will be used to define the critical period during which oxytocin might false

Understanding the Role of Microglia in the Prader-Willi Hypothalamus

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Dr. Kurrasch is studying whether inflammation in the brain, mediated by special immune cells called microglia, might contribute to hyperphagia and obesity in PWS. Using a mouse model of PWS, she will examine microglia activity and explore whether eliminating microglia improves energy regulation. Funding provided by FPWR – Canada.

Newborn Screening for Prader-Willi and Angelman Syndromes

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Universal newborn screening for PWS will ensure that all babies with PWS are diagnosed at birth. Dr. Godler has developed a sensitive, accurate and cost-effective DNA test for detection of PWS and Angelman syndrome using the bloodspots (“heelprick”) obtained in all newborns.  In the study, FPWR is collaborating with with the false

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) vs Placebo in Children with PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This grant will support a small clinical trial evaluating the impact of cannibidiol cannabidivarin (CBDV) on hunger and behavior.  CBDV is a compound similar to CBD, but with potential advantages over CBD for PWS. In this study, Dr. Hollander’s group will investigate a form of CBDV, a non-psychoactive drug that has false

Design and Implementation of Hypothalamus-Specific Exosomes to Restore SNORD116 Deletion in PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Dr. Lee’s group is exploring the use of a novel gene transfer vehicle, exosomes, to deliver missing portions of the PWS genes to the hypothalamus. In this pilot study, they seek to develop PWS-specific exosomes and test how well these can deliver genes to neurons and other cells.

Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) to Reduce Stress in Fathers of Adolescents with PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Families of those with PWS experience a great deal of stress, particularly during adolescence. In this study, we are funding the development of a new behavioral intervention, aimed at developing more effective coping skills in fathers of adolescents with PWS, as a means to improve overall family well being. Dr. Forster will work false

Guanfacine XR for Aggression and Self Injury in PWS A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Guanfacine XR (brand name Intuniv) is a medication for ADHD that improves impulse control. Dr. Singh has noted improvements in aggression and self injury in PWS patients in his practice when using this medication. In this study, he will perform a pragmatic clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of guanfacine for treating these false

Generation of Non-Human Primate Models of PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This project takes the first steps towards developing a primate (macaque) model of PWS. Animal models of PWS are currently limited and are not able to replicate some important aspects of PWS, such as intellectual disability, as well as behavioral and social impairments. These aspects of PWS may be more effectively studied in a false

Chronic Stress, Cognition, and Food Cue Reactivity in PWS. A Magnetoencephalography Study

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This study will combine advanced brain imaging technology with other assessments to examine how hormonal, cognitive, and psychological factors are interrelated in PWS. Results from this study will increase the understanding of how brain regions involved in food intake are related to appetite hormones, hair cortisol, and false

Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Blockade to Treat Hyperphagia, Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders in PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This grant supports the development of a new drug to tackle hunger and obesity with PWS. Inversago, a newly started, specialized biotech company, proposes that its CB1 blockers would treat a wider spectrum of symptoms than anything presently in development for PWS. The drug targets the endocannabinoid pathway, which is known to be false

Pig Models of Prader-Willi Syndrome for Pathophysiologic and Therapeutic Interventions

Funded Year: 2018

Overcoming the strong drive to overeat and obesity with negative impacts on life expectancy and life quality is of upmost and crucial importance for individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and their families. Despite advances in understanding the genetic causes of PWS and the establishment of different mouse models that mimic some clinical false

Evaluating endosomal recycling pathways in primary neurons from PWS individuals

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract MAGEL2 is a gene frequently deleted or mutated in individuals affected with PWS. Furthermore, mice lacking MAGEL2 display symptoms similar to those seen in PWS children. However, a critical barrier to our understanding of MAGEL2’s link to PWS has been determining its function within cells. Recently, my group has solved this enigmatic false

The gut microbiome in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract Prader-Willi syndrome individuals show impaired social behaviors and altered oxytocin levels in the brain, but the reason for this remains unknown. Here we will test whether changes in the gut bacterial content in PWS could perturb social behaviors and related changes in oxytocin. In addition, we will examine whether a probiotic bacteria false

The molecular mechanism of SNORD116 action (year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract SNORD116 is a C/D box small nucleolar RNA that is critical for the etiology of PWS, as microdeletions encompassing only SNORD116 cause a PWS-like phenotype. The molecular functions of SNORD116 have been elusive, preventing therapy design. We showed that SNORD116 is not a typical snoRNA, as it associates with different proteins and has a false

A transcriptome-wide approach to identifying RNA targets of the Prader-Willi locus snoRNAs (year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) traits are genetically determined by the loss of expression of genes from the paternally inherited small region located on chromosome 15. These genes are transcribed to brain-specific small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) whose function is still unknown. snoRNAs were traditionally assigned a role in ribosomal RNA false

Improving social functioning in Prader-willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract Social isolation and impaired social cognition underpins loneliness, depression and anxiety, contributes to poor health and reduced longevity. They also are associated with such cognitive consequences as impaired executive functioning, cognitive decline, a bias towards negative, depressive thinking, and oversensitivity to perceived social false

Cellular role of MAGEL2 in Prader-Willi and Schaaf-Yang syndromes

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract PWS is caused by the loss of function of a set of genes. One of these genes, named MAGEL2, produces a protein that is important for the normal development of the brain, muscles and the endocrine system. Loss of function of MAGEL2 alone causes a disorder that is related to PWS, called Schaaf-Yang syndrome (SYS). To date, researchers have false

Consequences of targeted SNORD116 deletion in human and mouse neurons

Funded Year: 2018

Abstract The role of the brain in controlling food intake is increasingly apparent, with studies finding that genes related to obesity often play a role in brain regions crucial for feeding, appetite, and satiety. Prader-Willi syndrome, one of the most common forms of genetic obesity, results increased food intake (hyperphagia) leading to severe false

ComuFaces: The perception of communicative faces by infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Neuropsychological studies have detailed several cognitive deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), among which the observation of altered social interactions, with notable difficulty in interpreting and responding to social information. The integration of the information from the face and the voice is important for our social communication as false

Comufaces: The Perception of Communicative Faces by Infants with PWS (Year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Neuropsychological studies have detailed several cognitive deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), among which the observation of altered social interactions, with notable difficulty in interpreting and responding to social information. The integration of the information from the face and the voice is important for our social communication as false

Systematic Investigation of Early Social Cognitive Processes and the Feasibility of Intervention

Funded Year: 2017

For Year 1, our project aims were: 1) to characterize the social, cognitive, and affective processes in preschoolers with PWS (by genetic subtype), in comparison to preschoolers with ASD and typically developing children, and 2) to pilot a remotely delivered parent education program to determine if it would be feasible and effective for families false

Neural mechanisms of oxytocin-enhanced infant feeding and social behavior development

Funded Year: 2017

This project uses infant mice to understand the mechanism of a promising treatment for PWS. Oxytocin (OXT) regulates feeding and social behavior. In mouse research and recent clinical trials with infants and young children, OXT seems to improve the core feeding and social behavior disturbances of PWS. In humans, OXT is effective when it is given false

CRISPR-mediated 3D modeling, molecular dissection and epigenetic profiling of PWS

Funded Year: 2017

Deletions on chromosome 15 in the bands labeled 15q11.2-q13 on the chromosome inherited from a subject’s father cause Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The unique nature of this causative genetic event has been known for many years, but the precise manner in which it causes the developmental abnormalities of PWS is not completely understood since the false

The SNORD116-NHLH2 pathway: insights into the molecular genetic basis of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2017

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic condition resulting from paternal inheritance of a deletion within an imprinted region of chromosome 15q. The smallest known deleted region encompasses a small nucleolar non-coding RNA locus called SNORD116 (SNORD116), but very little is known about how deletion of SNORD116 leads to PWS. As shown using false

Dissecting a novel brainstem feeding circuit in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2017

There is currently no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). PWS is a complex and debilitating disorder that significantly impacts the lives of not only affected patients, but their families, as well. Recent work has revealed a genetic basis for PWS, and a number of the genes affected are known to have unique expression patterns throughout the false

Examination Of Incidence Of Individuals With PWS Undergoing Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Funded Year: 2017

Orthopedic anomalies are common in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome (“PWS”). Surveys suggest that roughly 19% of individuals with PWS may be diagnosed with knock knees, 10% with hip dysplasia, 7% with patellofemoral instability, and 3% with bowlegs. Yet, there is little consensus among orthopedists about how best to address these issues in false

A mindfulness-based intervention for temper outbursts in Prader–Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2017

Temper outbursts are one of the most commonly reported behavior problems of children, adolescents and adults with PWS. Outbursts cause increased stress for families and costs for the community. Despite this, there is currently no known treatment. Meditation on the Soles of the Feet (SoF) is a mindfulness-based intervention designed specifically to false

Therapeutic Potential of Blocking Zinc Finger Protein 274 Binding to the PWS Locus

Funded Year: 2017

Our goal is to understand the molecular pathways disrupted in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and to develop therapeutic interventions for this disorder. Through the biological process called genomic imprinting, the chromosome 15 that is inherited from the father has a set of genes that is switched on while the same set of genes on the chromosome 15 false

Evaluating factors that may affect the efficacy of intranasal oxytocin treatment in PWS

Funded Year: 2017

Recent studies with oxytocin treatment in PWS have yielded inconsistent results. Intranasal administration of oxytocin by the Toulouse group decreased disruptive behaviors in patients with PWS, but a recent randomized trial in Australia of adolescents and adults of intranasal oxytocin (IN-OT) found no effect on syndrome-specific behavior in false

Gene Expression Analysis in PWS Subject Derived Dental Pulp Stem Cell Neurons (year 2)

Funded Year: 2017

There are two goals to this study: 1) To identify differences between individuals with PWS with autism from those who have PWS without autism using technology that analyzes how genes are expressed and 2) To identify a new role for SNORD115 and SNORD116 which may help explain the PWS condition or how other very small molecules that do not make false

A post-mortem study of von Economo neurons in the frontal cortex of brains of persons with PWS (year 2)

Funded Year: 2017

Although PWS is best known for hypothalamic obesity and hyperphagia, the cognitive and behavioral issues are the most challenging for families. Previous neuroanatomical studies in PWS have examined cells in the hypothalamus. To date, no data are available on the cellular structure of the brain in PWS in the frontal lobe where executive function false

Developing objective biomarkers of hyperphagia in children with PWS

Funded Year: 2017

Hyperphagia is one of the distinctive features of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), and when not carefully monitored or controlled, can be life threatening. It emerges in early childhood and remains a life-long challenge for individuals with PWS and their caregivers. To effectively manage and, in the future, treat hyperphagia, it is important to be false

Prevalence and aetiology of PWS low level mosaicism in UPD undetected by standard testing

Funded Year: 2017

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder found in ~1 in 15,000 to 20,000 births. PWS phenotype caused by the loss of function of several genes located on chromosome 15. These genes are usually ‘switched on’ on the chromosome 15 that is inherited from the father and ‘switched off’ on the chromosome 15 inherited from the false

Role of the endocannabinoid system in PWS-induced osteoporosis and skeletal growth

Funded Year: 2017

Osteoporosis is characterized by weakened and fragile bones and considered one of the major health abnormalities associated with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). This problem affects almost 90% of patients with PWS and has a negative impact on their quality of lives by causing physical and functional limitations that could also affect longevity. In false

Transcranial direct current stimulation, startle modulation and event-related potentials of the brain

Funded Year: 2017

Hyperphagia (extreme overeating) is the most significant factor contributing to obesity in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and considered a cardinal feature. PWS is recognized as the most common syndromic cause of life-threating obesity, but no medications are currently available to decrease appetite or lessen obesity in PWS.

Proof of concept study of vagus nerve stimulation from an external device in PWS (year 2)

Funded Year: 2017

The hypothesis set out in our original application is that t-VNS given over time and following a protocol established for its use in epilepsy, will prevent the prolonged and debilitating temper outbursts and associated emotional dysregulation that characteristically affect people with PWS. We further propose that any improvements in behavior are false

Small molecule allosteric modulators of the melanocortin-4 receptor for the treatment of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

There is some data suggesting that one of the systems that regulates appetite and weight in the brain, the melanocortin-4 receptor pathway, may be disrupted in PWS.  This study will examine a new class of drugs targeting this pathway, in a mouse model of PWS.  The drugs will be tested alone and in combination with other drugs currently being false

Physiological and genetic determinants on hyperthermia and hyperphagia in PWS

Funded Year: 2016

Dr. Tucci’s group has shown that mice with the SNORD116 deletion have sleep abnormalities and increased body temperature. They hypothesize that environmental temperature may play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of PWS symptoms including sleep and obesity. They will use PWS mice that will be maintained under different temperature regimens and false

Wake promoting effects of oxytocin

Funded Year: 2016

Caregivers, physicians and patients with PWS report that daytime sleepiness in PWS significantly disrupts daily life. However, the underlying cause of excessive daytime sleepiness in PWS is unknown. Dr. Scammell’s group is exploring the contribution of reduced neuronal function in the hypothalamus region of the brain, specifically, oxytocin/orexin false

Recapitulating obesity and hyperphagia in novel adult-onset mouse models of Snord116 deletion

Funded Year: 2016

Although it is well established that deletion of SNORD116 contributes to PWS in humans, mice missing Snord116 don’t display hyperphagia and obesity. This makes it very difficult to study the biology of SNORD116 and test anti-obesity drugs. In a major breakthrough, Dr. Yeo’s group has shown that if Snord116 is deleted in adult mice, a percentage of false

Improving social functioning in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

People with intellectual or developmental disabilities, including Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), are at heightened risk for social exclusion and isolation. This underpins loneliness, depression and anxiety, contributes to poor health and reduced longevity. This project will recruit 50 young adults with PWS into an intensive, 10-week group false

Understanding multiple hormone secretion deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Numerous hormone levels are deficient in PWS. However, the underlying biology and how the altered hormone levels contribute to the characteristics of PWS is not well understood. Dr. Nicholls’ group has developed a novel cell culture model system to study how PWS genes regulate hormone production and release. This model system will advance our false

The molecular mechanism of SNORD116 action and possible SNORD116 substitution strategies

Funded Year: 2016

The loss of two snoRNAs, SNORD115 and SNORD116, plays a central role in the development of Prader-Willi syndrome. However, the normal function of SNORD116 is still unclear, making it difficult to understand what goes wrong when SNORD116 is lost. Dr. Stamm’s group is exploring how SNORD116 influences other genes, and their preliminary studies false

Ghrelin: Is it detrimental, beneficial, or inconsequential in Prader-Willi Syndrome? (year 2)

Funded Year: 2016

Ghrelin levels are elevated in PWS, but why, how, and whether it plays a role in hyperphagia or other aspects of PWS are all still unanswered questions. This project will explore if ghrelin plays a protective role in PWS with regards growth hormone deficiency, hypoglycemia and mental health issues, but a detrimental role with regards to extreme false

Impact of carbohydrate restricted diet upon growth and hyperphagia/food anxiety in children with Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Prader-Willi syndrome is a disorder of genetic imprinting characterized by common features including early feeding problems and failure to thrive followed by gradual weight gain and development of hyperphagia. Long-term practice has recommended use of dietary restriction using a variety of approaches for weight control/obesity prevention of false

Preclinical studies of a novel epigenetic therapy for Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Despite the significant progress in understanding the molecular basis underlying Prader-Willi syndrome, little advance has been achieved in developing the treatment specifically targeting to the molecular defect. The SNORD116 between the SNRPN and UBE3A genes is important for the major features of PWS. The host transcripts and SNORD116 in the false

Reactivation of the PWS locus via disruption of the ZNF274 silencing complex (year 2)

Funded Year: 2016

Through a normal biological process called genomic imprinting, the chromosome 15 that is inherited from the father has a set of genes that are switched on while the same set of genes on the chromosome 15 inherited from the mother are switched off. In Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), there is no normal copy of the paternal chromosome 15 so patients false

The MAGEL2 phenotype in comparison to classic Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetically and clinically complex disorder. From a molecular standpoint, a major question has been the contribution of individual genes within the Prader-Willi domain on chromosome 15 to the overall clinical phenotype. Many animal models have attempted to address this question, but have not been able to fully false

Loss of MAGEL2 and hypotonia in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Children with PWS are hypotonic (floppy) at birth. Their poor muscle tone causes delays in sitting and walking and contributes to orthopedic problems such as scoliosis. Reduced endurance lowers the number of calories they can consume per day to manage their body weight, and impairs their quality of life. Treatments that build muscle mass or false

Mitochondrial Complex I dysfunction in Prader Willi Syndrome: A new therapeutic target

Funded Year: 2016

Children with Prader-Willi syndrome suffer from very low muscle tone, growth delay, short stature, developmental delay, muscle weakness and exercise intolerance. Studies have suggested that there is a problem with energy metabolism in PWS but what kind of problem this is and how this leads to PWS is not clear at the present time. Many PWS patients false

A post-mortem study of von Economo neurons in the frontal cortex of brains of persons with PWS

Funded Year: 2016

Although PWS is best known for hypothalamic obesity and hyperphagia, the cognitive and behavioral issues are the most challenging for families. Brain difference is the underpinning of the characteristics that define the Prader-Willi personality: food related behaviors, excessive/repetitive behaviors, stress sensitivity/mood disorder, cognitive false

Plastic TASTER: a switching training game for people with PWS that adapts to individual needs (year 2)

Funded Year: 2016

Task switching is a cognitive process important for regulating behaviour. People with PWS generally show impaired switching and this difficulty is linked to people resisting change and showing temper outbursts triggered by changes.

Predictors of psychosis in Prader Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

There is increasing evidence that Prader-Willi Syndrome is associated with high rates of psychosis, a serious mental disorder that profoundly disrupts thought and emotion. However, little is known about the early or ‘prodromal’ phase of illness and the risk factors that predict the emergence of psychosis in PWS patients. This is a critical gap in false

Oxytocin treatment in Magel2-defcient mice (year 2)

Funded Year: 2016

The MAGEL2 gene appears as one of the main genes involved in feeding and behavioral (autistic like behavior) alterations observed in Prader-Willi Syndrome. We showed that, in mouse, the deficiency of Magel2 results in a phenotype similar to the clinical description of patients with mutations in MAGEL2. Indeed, we showed that Magel2-deficient mice false

The role of SNORD116 in the neuroendocrine phenotypes of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

A hallmark symptom of PWS is extreme, unrelenting hyperphagia associated with obesity. Other medical characteristics of individuals with PWS include low circulating growth hormone, short stature, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and hypogonadism. Additionally, individuals with PWS have decreased levels of circulating fasting insulin compared false

Evaluating the Parent-focused Remote Education To Enhance Development (PRETEND) Program in PWS

Funded Year: 2015

This project centers on better understanding the social-cognitive characteristics of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) in early childhood and providing education and training to parents of children with PWS to optimize learning and joint engagement between parent and child. There are two goals of this research:

Methylation test validation for combined Prader-Willi and Fragile X syndrome newborn screening

Funded Year: 2015

ABSTRACT

Activation of silenced genes in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

The genetic causes of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) are known, including as a complex disorder involving imprinted genes that normally only function after inheritance from the father. A dozen genes contribute to the clinical problems in PWS, although what most of these genes do is poorly understood. Additionally, although numerous mouse models that false

Proof of concept study of vagus nerve stimulation from an external device In Prader Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

This proposed proof of concept study follows an earlier trial of vagus nerve stimulation, using a surgically implanted medical device, in three people with PWS to investigate whether such treatment might reduce the over-eating behaviour characteristic of people with PWS. Whilst the effects on eating were equivocal, two of the three participants, false

Investigating neural development in an induced pluripotent stem cell model of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Recent technological developments have ushered in a new era for the medical research field based on our ability to generate stem cells (called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs) out of adult patient cells, such as blood or skin fibroblasts. There are two important benefits of this technology relevant for research into Prader Willi Syndrome false

RNA targets of SNORD116

Funded Year: 2015

Current evidence suggests that most Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) traits result from loss of paternally inherited SNORD116 gene group. SNORD116 belong to a class of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), which are involved in modification of other RNA species. snoRNAs act as guides to define sites of target RNA modification by partner enzymes. Typically, a false

Oxytocin and the autonomic nervous system in Prader Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Study one: There is a reduction in the number of neurons that produce oxytocin in people with PWS. This, along with a range of other evidence supports the likelihood that abnormalities in the oxytocin system are key to the problems of PWS. However, studies examining the levels of oxytocin in PWS as well as clinical trials evaluating the effect false

Gene Expression Analysis in PWS Subject Derived Dental Pulp Stem Cell Neurons

Funded Year: 2015

There are two goals to this study: 1) To identify differences among individuals with PWS and autism from those who have PWS without autism by analyzing gene expression and 2) To identify new patterns of gene expression which may help explain the PWS condition or how other very small molecules that do not make protein (non-coding RNAs) implicated false

Development and validation of ghrelin O-acyltransferase inhibitors for treating hyperphagia in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Obesity and insatiable appetite (hyperphagia) are among the most serious symptoms experienced by Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) patients. While many of the causes underlying PWS symptoms remain unknown, the discovery of the protein hormone ghrelin and its role in controlling appetite has led researchers to investigate the possible role of ghrelin in false

Rapamycin treatment to correct the circadian mTOR imbalance in the Snord116 deletion mouse model of PWS

Funded Year: 2015

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a known genetic etiology, but a complex epigenetic basis.  PWS is an imprinted disorder, meaning that the genes implicated in PWS are expressed only on the paternal but not the maternal chromosome 15q11-13. At the heart of the minimally deleted region in PWS are several processed false

Role of melanin concentrating hormone in an animal model of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder with symptoms that typically include obesity, severe appetite and impaired reproductive function. It is thought that dysfunction of the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls body weight and reproduction, underlies some of these symptoms. Our goal is to understand what is false

Characterisation of anti-ghrelin autoantibodies in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Excessive eating (hyperphagia)  is one of the most challenging features of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and currently there are no medications available for effective appetite regulation. Hyperphagia is most likely to be driven by elevated levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin in patients with PWS. The underlying cause of this elevated false

ComuFaces: The perception of communicative faces by infants with Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Paying attention to communicative faces is essential for our understanding of the social world. Indeed, faces provide observers rich and complex information about the identity (gender, age, etc), the socio-emotional state (eye-brows movements, eye-gaze) and the linguistic message (auditory speech sounds/mouth movements) of our social partners. The false

Regulation of ghrelin and serotonin receptors by SNORD115

Funded Year: 2015

The loss of two regulatory RNAs is critical for the development of Prader-Willi syndrome. One of these RNAs prevents the formation of a truncated serotonin receptor. We will test the role of this truncated serotonin receptor in the production of growth hormones and determine whether it is a 'master regulator' for other receptors. Based on our false

Biological and molecular functions of PWS-encoded small nucleolar RNA genes

Funded Year: 2015

For several decades the most extensively studied human DNA sequences were those generating messenger RNAs (mRNAs) which are used as templates for protein synthesis. The process decoding the genetic information from mRNAs to proteins is carried out by molecular machines named ribosomes and proteins are commonly perceived as essential molecules false

Reactivation of the PWS locus via disruption of the ZNF274 silencing complex

Funded Year: 2015

Through a normal biological process called genomic imprinting, the chromosome 15 that is inherited from the father has a set of genes that are switched on while the same set of genes on the chromosome 15 inherited from the mother are switched off. In Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), there is no normal copy of the paternal chromosome 15 so patients false

Ghrelin: Is it detrimental, beneficial, or inconsequential in Prader-Willi Syndrome?

Funded Year: 2015

Plasma levels of the peptide hormone ghrelin are markedly elevated in individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), however the functional consequences of this elevation have not yet been determined, nor are the mechanistic causes of ghrelin elevation known. Many attribute the characteristic, maladaptive PWS eating behaviors directly to ghrelin, false

Linking the cellular function of MAGEL-2 to its role in PWS

Funded Year: 2015

Background: MAGEL-2 is a gene frequently deleted or mutated in individuals affected with PWS. Furthermore, mice lacking MAGEL-2 display symptoms similar to those seen in PWS children. However, a critical barrier to our understanding of MAGEL-2’s link to PWS has been determining its function within cells. Recently, my group has solved this false

Mechanisms of sleepiness and other sleep abnormalities in a mouse model of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Many individuals with PWS have sleepiness, abnormal rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and falling episodes resembling cataplexy - episodes of muscle paralysis that are usually triggered by strong, positive emotions. Caregivers, physicians and patients with PWS report significant disruption of daily life as a result of these sleep-related symptoms. false

Small molecules and therapeutic potential for PWS

Funded Year: 2014

A publication resulting from this project was highlighted in an FPWR Research Blog post “Promising First Steps Towards Genetic Therapy for Prader-Willi Syndrome” (December 2016)

The role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of genes normally expressed only from the paternal chromosome 15. About 70% of PWS cases arise from Type 1 and Type 2 deletions, which are about 5 million DNA base pairs in size. Genetic mapping data from unique patients harboring smaller deletions, “microdeletions”, in the PWS region implicate the false

Training task switching to decrease temper outbursts in people with PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Temper outbursts are commonly shown by people with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and can cause great problems for people with the syndrome, their family members and caregivers. One common reason for temper outbursts is that people with PWS find changes to routines or to plans very difficult. This difficulty with change is linked to impairment in a false

Role of the lipid-derived satiety factor, oleoylethanolamide, in PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic disorder characterized by an insatiable feeling of hunger and an irrepressible urge to overeat. If left uncontrolled, hunger and overeating can lead to morbid obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Why PWS causes hunger is an important question that must be answered in we false

Genome-wide survey of DNA methylation in PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genomic imprinting disorder caused by an abnormality in the PWS critical region (PWSCR), a particular region of 15th chromosome (15q11-q13). Genomic imprinting refers to a phenomenon in which genes from specific parent can be expressed. PWSCR contains several imprinted genes that are only expressed from either false

Development of appetite-related neural circuits in a mouse model for PWS (year 2)

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disease characterized by an insatiable appetite and a variety or behavioral dysregulations. It is known that the brain, and particularly a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, is important to regulating appetite and body weight. We also know that many key physiological processes, including appetite false

The role of PREPL in the pathophysiology of PWS: evaluation of a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of hypotonia

Funded Year: 2014

A remarkable clinical resemblance between Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and hypotonia-cystinuria syndrome (HCS) was observed in our multidisciplinary clinic for PWS in our center. All HCS patients were initially referred for genetic analysis of PWS. Patients with either syndrome suffer from weakness and poor sucking in the newborn period. This false

Evaluation of autism-like behaviors in mice deficient for Magel2

Funded Year: 2014

MAGEL2 is one of five genes in the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) critical domain on chromosome 15 that encodes a protein. Our group recently described a group of patients with mutations of MAGEL2 causing Prader-Willi features and autism. Autism spectrum disorder is seen in up to one third of individuals with PWS, and in all individuals with MAGEL2 false

Nutritional aspects of PWS and childhood obesity: a metabolomics approach

Funded Year: 2014

In Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) the progression from poor appetite and failure-to-thrive (FTT) to obesity and voracious appetite is complex and takes several years. We have recently shown that there are 6 distinct post-natal nutritional phases in PWS. By looking at the end products of cellular processes in individuals with PWS before and after the false

Transcranial direct current stimulation, startle modulation and event-related potential of the brain to evaluate hyperphagia in PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Hyperphagia (extreme overeating) is the most significant factor contributing to obesity in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and considered a cardinal feature.  PWS is recognized as the most common syndromic cause of life-threating obesity, but no medications are currently available to decrease appetite or lessen obesity in PWS. Preliminary studies have false

Gut microbiome in individuals with PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-willi syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by loss of a portion of a copy of chromosome 15.  Common features include early problems with muscle weakness and feeding followed by occult weight gain without an increase in food consumption beginning during late infancy/early toddler period prior to the onset of hyperphagia.  Recent research false

How does oxytocin cure early feeding and adult social behavior alterations in Magel2 deficient mice, a model for the PWS?

Funded Year: 2014

The MAGEL2 gene appears as one of the main genes involved in feeding and behavioral (autistic like behavior) alterations observed in Prader-Willi Syndrome. We showed that, in mouse, the deficiency of Magel2 results in a phenotype similar to the clinical description of patients with mutations in MAGEL2. Indeed, we showed that Magel2-deficient mice false

Comprehensive behavioral informatics approach to CNS function in PWS mouse models

Funded Year: 2014

The identification of genetic loci conferring susceptibility to Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) provides valuable opportunities for understanding its biological basis. A powerful approach for probing the roles of genes within the nervous system is to introduce them into mice. The resulting mouse models may be studied in depth to determine how genes false

Inhibitory circuits and transmission in the hypothalamus in a mouse model of PWS

Funded Year: 2014

The genetic disorder Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), results in debilitating physical, endocrine, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. Many of the characteristics of PWS, such as uncontrollable food intake, stunted growth, and emotional problems suggest that disruptions in brain regions such as the hypothalamus may cause this. Recently, the gene false

Injectable protein gene activation therapy for PWS (year 2)

Funded Year: 2014

This proposal will investigate the development of a gene therapy for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). PWS is caused by the loss of a region of human chromosome 15q11-13. Humans have two copies of chromosome 15, one the mother (maternal) and one from the father (paternal). Due to an unusual mechanism called genetic imprinting, the genes affecting PWS false

Unraveling the developmental neurobiology of PWS: a cross-sectional brain-imaging study (year 2)

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare disorder, sharing common genes with autism and schizophrenia; patients with PWS are at a high risk of developing psychiatric illnesses and behavioral problems, however, the underlying neurobiology that places them at-risk is yet unknown. Here we propose a cross-sectional, multi-faceted brain imaging study in false

A Dose Titration Study of Diazoxide Choline Controlled-Release Tablet (DCCR) in Patients with Prader-Willi syndrome with a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Withdrawal Extension

Funded Year: 2014

Once Prader-Willi patients reach the stage where hyperphagia is a dominant characteristic of the disease, the progression to obesity, morbid obesity and diabetes and their complications reduces the quality of life of the patient and increases their risk of death from a number of causes. The constant food seeking and food obsession combined with false

Investing in Young Investigators

Funded Year: 2014

Ariana Garagozzo is not just a future scientist; she is also the sibling of a young man with Prader-Willi syndrome.  As an undergraduate student at Dickinson College, Ariana’s passion to find a cure for hyperphagia has clearly defined her path towards a medical career in PWS research!

The role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of genes normally expressed only from the paternal chromosome 15. About 70% of PWS cases arise from Type 1 and Type 2 deletions, which are about 5 million DNA base pairs in size. Genetic mapping data from unique patients harboring smaller deletions, “microdeletions”, in the PWS region implicate the false

Investigation of ghrelin-o-acyltransferase as a target for treating hyperphagia in Prader-Willi syndrome (Year 1)

Funded Year: 2013

Obesity and insatiable appetite (hyperphagia) are among the most serious symptoms experienced by Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) patients.  While many of the causes underlying PWS symptoms remain unknown, the discovery of the protein hormone ghrelin and its role in controlling appetite has led researchers to investigate the possible role of ghrelin in false

Oxytocin vs. placebo for the treatment of hyperphagia in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by lack of inherited genes from fathers on chromosome 15. PWS is characterized by intellectual disabilities, repetitive and compulsive behaviors, social cognition deficits, increased eating and obesity. These individuals typically consume up to three times the normal caloric false

Support to develop a grant application for a cross-over controlled trial of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

The vagus nerve is a major route of communication between the brain and the gut. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a procedure whereby a small implanted device placed under the skin on a patient’s chest delivers an intermittent electrical impulse to the vagus nerve, which will travel up and down the nerve and into the brain and to the gut. VNS has false

Clinical trials initiative

Funded Year: 2013

Dr. Jennifer Miller is assisting FPWR in identifying opportunities for clinical trials in PWS and developing recommendations for the conduct of such clinical trials.  Among the issues to be addressed are target population, identification of informative surrogate endpoints, and assessment of recruitment challenges.  In addition, she is providing false

Early to midterm oxytocin effects on the brain metabolism of adults with Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2013

This supplement will help Dr. M. Tauber complete the study awarded in 2011: Early to midterm oxytocin effects on the brain metabolism of adults with Prader-Willi syndrome. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare multisystem genetic disease leading to severe disabilities such as morbid obesity, as well as behavioral and socialization problems. We are false

European PWS blood bank coordinator

Funded Year: 2013

Dr. Tauber is leading a European effort to collect blood samples on infants and children with PWS to monitor changes in hormones over time. This funding will support a blood bank recruitment coordinator, who will work to collect clinical data on birth, growth, endocrine functions and feeding behavior in newly diagnosed patients with PWS.

Establishment of an in vitro model of muscle cells derived from primary fibroblasts to study dysregulation of translational capacity in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Previous results showed that our physical rehabilitation program could induce weight loss in a group of adult PWS patients, but failed to improve their muscular mass (Grolla et al.2010). The loss of muscle mass affects elderly, obese and PWS patients leading to frailty and impaired quality of life. It is becoming apparent, using animal models, false

Hypoglycemia in PWS: A prospective study

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic disorder associated with varied clinical findings, neurocognitive delay, and endocrine abnormalities. Clinically, individuals with PWS progress along a path marked by different nutritional stages. In infancy, children with PWS have hypotonia, poor feeding, excessive daytime sleepiness, and false

Neurobiology of temper outburst behaviours in Prader-Willi syndrome - imaging pilot study

Funded Year: 2013

Individuals with Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) are known to display frequent and severe temper outburst behaviours throughout their life. These behaviours can have a significant impact on the quality of life for the individual and their family. Prader Willi outbursts are reactive explosion of emotion that once provoked the individual has little false

Oxytocin actions of prefrontal cortex circuits in a mouse model of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2013

Mental illness is a major problem in Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). It prevents social interactions and seriously threatens the quality of life of the patient and of those around the patient. Mood swings, stereotyped repetitive behaviors, psychotic episodes are dependent on proper functioning of brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex. Activity false

Unraveling the developmental neurobiology of PWS: a cross-sectional brain imaging study

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare disorder, sharing common genes with autism and schizophrenia; patients with PWS are at very high risk of developing severe psychiatric illnesses and behavioral problems, however, the underlying neurobiology that places them at-risk is yet unknown. Here we propose a cross-sectional, multi-faceted brain imaging false

Functional Assessment of snoRNA derived microRNAs in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, predominantly caused by a deletion on the long arm of chromosome 15. This deletion eliminates a group of genes called HBII-85 whose function is currently unknown. Therefore, this proposal aims to investigate the underlaying molecular mechanisms behind the loss of HBII-85 and how this false

Targeting the peripheral endocanniabinoid system for the treatment of obesity in a mouse model of PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Extreme obesity is one of the major health problems related to Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), yet there are few effective medications. Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are lipid signaling molecules that act on a cellular receptor, called the CB1 receptor. This receptor is present in the brain and in peripheral tissues, where it also recognizes the false

Osteoporosis in individuals with PWS and the role of vitamin D receptor

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome is a multisystem disorder due to absence of paternally expressed imprinted genes at 15q11.2-q13. Diminished bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis are common in PWS individuals, especially in adolescence and adulthood. The reasons for the increased prevalence of osteoporosis in PWS are not totally clear, but decreased false

Evidence based approach to dietary management of PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Lay Abstract: Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disease characterized by failure to thrive and low muscle tone during infancy, followed by food-seeking, insatiable appetite and progressive obesity in childhood. The resulting increases in total body fat and decreases in muscle mass lead to metabolic problems such as diabetes and heart false

Allele specific regulation of SNORD116 in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a complex genetic disorder that results from a failure to inherit a normal copy of the father’s chromosome 15. Key genes on the paternal chromosome are deleted, but how the deletion of this region leads to PWS is a complete mystery. In PWS, a normal copy of the mother’s chromosome 15 is inherited, but the genes are false

The role of the prefrontal cortex in PWS hyperphagia

Funded Year: 2013

Among the many complications of Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), the increased food intake (hyperphagia) has serious long-term medical consequences. The goal of this proposal is to define novel brain regions that may contribute to this problem. Studies of brain activity suggest that the prefrontal cortex might be different in PWS patients. This is an false

Development of appetite-related neural circuits in a mouse model for Prader-Willi syndrome (year 1)

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disease characterized by an insatiable appetite and a variety of behavioral dysregulations. It is known that the brain, and particularly a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, is important to regulating appetite and body weight. We also know that many key physiological processes, including appetite false

Pancreatic and neuro-endocrine cell secretory pathway deficits in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Many advances in recent years have added to our understanding of the genetic causes of PWS, including recognition of it as a disorder of genomic imprinting involving defective genes that normally only function after inheritance from the father. At least a dozen genes appear to contribute to the many clinical problems seen in PWS. Unfortunately the false

Use of stem cell-derived neurons to identify the molecular basis of the PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of expression of specific genes normally expressed only from paternal alleles on chromosome 15. PWS patients display common symptoms, which include feeding difficulties in infancy, loss of muscle tone, rapid weight gain after two years of age, extreme hunger and unrelenting appetite, obesity, and false

Reactivation of maternally-silenced genes in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

This proposal will investigate the development of a gene therapy for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). PWS is caused by the loss of a region of human cromosome 15q11-13. Humans have two copies of chromosome 15, one the mother (maternal) and one from the father (paternal). Due to an unusual mechanism called genetic imprinting, the genes affecting PWS false

Small molecular screening and therapeutic potential for PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Like most genetic disorders, there is no specific therapeutic intervention targeted to the molecular defect for Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The clinical presentations of PWS are caused by paternal deficiency of genes in the chromosome 15q11-q13 region. Recent reports indicate a region between the SNRPN and UBE3A genes harboring SnoRNA clusters is false

Development of leptin dysregulation in a mouse model of obesity in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

The brain balances energy stores with energy expenditure with little conscious effort. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that senses levels of a hormone called leptin, which is produced by fat. Excess leptin normally causes a decrease in appetite and increase in activity. This balance is disrupted in obese children who carry mutations in false

Nutritional aspects of Prader-Willi syndrome and childhood obesity: correlation of plasma orexin levels with nutritional phases

Funded Year: 2013

Early in infancy, babies with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) have no interest in feeding manifested by lack of crying for food and failure-to-thrive requiring assisted feeding with a G-tube, NG tube, or cross-cutting of bottle nipple (phase 1a). There is then a series of transition through five nutritional phases, ending in the classic PWS false

Early to midterm oxytocin effects on the brain metabolism of adults with Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2012

Prader-Willi  syndrome  (PWS)  is  a  rare  multisystem  genetic  disease  leading  to  severe disabilities such as morbid obesity, as well as behavioral and socialization problems. We are greatly lacking in information on the natural history of this complex disease and the factors involved in its progression and outcome. Early diagnosis and a false

Role of SNORD116/HBII-85 snoRNAs in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

Although the genetic region on chromosome 15 that is responsible for Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) has been known for many years, how the gene or genes within this large region cause the complex clinical features of PWS is still unknown. We have identified a small deletion on chromosome 15 of a patient with PWS features that narrows the causative false

Environmental, physiological and neural bases of skin picking in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

Many people with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) frequently engage in severe skin picking behavior, often causing open wounds and sores that can become infected. Why do people with PWS do this? How often and under what circumstances does it occur? Are people with PWS more likely to exhibit skin picking when they are bored or anxious? Does the skin false

Generating a novel model of ghrelin-null Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a lack of muscle tone at birth, a failure to thrive in infancy, and mild learning disabilities.   On emerging from infancy, children with PWS show reduced skeletal growth and an insatiable appetite, which, when combined with an obsession with food, results in obesity.   false

A Prader-Willi syndrome mouse model with brain specific ablation of snoRNA clusters from the Snrpn to Ube3a region

Funded Year: 2011

Two lines of evidence are promoted this proposal. First, recently, smaller microdeletions in the region between the human SNRPN and UBE3A genes have been reported in several cases with features consistent with PWS, including childhood obesity, hyperphagia, and hypogonadism. Second, interestingly, recent studies of genomewide survey of imprinting false

A pig model of PWS: a breakthrough for obesity, clinical and therapeutic studies

Funded Year: 2011

Overcoming the severe drive to overeat and obesity that provides the greatest threat to life expectancy and life quality is of upmost and crucial importance for PWS individuals and families. Despite advances in understanding the genetic causes of PWS and the establishment of different mouse models that mimic some clinical components, the false

Longitudinal investigation of pubertal development and reproductive hormones in Prader-Willi syndrome from infancy through adulthood (year 2)

Funded Year: 2011

Background: Hypogonadism (impaired sex hormone production) is a major feature of PWS, although the clinical expression is variable. Nevertheless, early onset of puberty has been seen in both sexes, and pregnancies have been documented in some PWS women. The causes of hypogonadism in PWS are heterogeneous, encompassing a spectrum which includes false

Role of Kiss1 neurons in mediating grhrelin’s effect on effect on reproduction and metabolism (year 2)

Funded Year: 2011

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by impairment of a myriad of physiological systems including growth, development, metabolism and reproduction. Although the physiological deficits observed in individuals with PWS come to be well-recognized, the mechanisms and/or cause for the generation of these characteristics are false

Mechanism of hyperphagia and therapeutic interventions in mouse models for Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS, and to evaluate two types of treatments for persistent hunger and food seeking behavior. We have focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called Snord116 (formally PWCR1/HBII-85) small nucleolar RNA false

Characterization of skeletal muscle abnormalities in mouse models of Prader-Willi syndrome: Functional role of Necdin?

Funded Year: 2011

One of the major clinical problems of patients with PWS is decreased muscle tone and muscle weakness leading to delayed gross motor milestones and additional clinical problems (e.g. scoliosis) later in life.  Interestingly, there is significant lack of knowledge regarding the underlying abnormalities of skeletal  Muscle in patients with PWS, nor false

R-loop formation and chromatin decondensation at the PWS critical locus

Funded Year: 2011

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a known genetic etiology but a complex epigenetic basis. PWS is an imprinted disorder, meaning that genes expressed only on the paternal but not the maternal chromosome 15 are responsible. Furthermore, unlike genetic mutations that affect protein-coding genes, the smallest genetic false

Derivation of live Prader-Willi syndrome neurons from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells

Funded Year: 2010

A better understanding of the causes of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and the discovery of potential therapies has been hampered by the unavailability of live tissues. In our laboratory (Marc Lalande), we have established induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to create models of human disease in a test tube/tissue culture dish. Skin cells false

Longitudinal study of reproductive hormones in Prader-Willi syndrome from infancy through adulthood

Funded Year: 2010

Hypogonadism (decreased production of testicular or ovarian hormones resulting in incomplete sexual development) is considered to be a cardinal feature of Prader-Willi syndrome, however, the clinical expression is variable. Most, but not all PWS males have unilateral or bilateral undescended testes. Arrested pubertal development leads to false

The relationship between serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, BDNF haplotypes and neurocognitive performance in children with PWS

Funded Year: 2010

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disease characterized by failure to thrive and low muscle tone during infancy, followed by food-seeking and severe obesity in childhood. Other manifestations include altered pain perception, cognitive impairment, maladaptive behaviors (obsessive compulsive, temper tantrums, skin picking, rigid thinking and false

MCH neurons in animal models of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2010

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a disease caused by mutations on human chromosome 15 leading to "floppy" infants initially, and obesity and sleep disorders later. Although genetic defects underlying PWS have been documented, it is still not well understood how the loss-of-function of genes results in various symptoms in PWS. It has been shown that false

Role of Kiss1 neurons in mediating ghrelin’s effect on reproduction and metabolism (year 1)

Funded Year: 2010

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by impairment of a myriad of physiological systems including growth, development, metabolism and reproduction. Although the physiological deficits observed in individuals with PWS come to be well-recognized, the mechanisms and/or cause for the generation of these characteristics are false

The 5-HT2CR: Mining a new experimental approach to therapeutics for Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2010

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic disorder in which several genes are missing or not functional. PWS is characterized by initial loss of muscle tone and failure to thrive neonatally; children with PWS develop behavioral and cognitive problems, reproductive defects, and excessive overeating. A major medical concern is the morbid false

Plasma oxytocin and other appetite-regulating hormones in Prader-Willi syndrome before and after treatment with intranasal oxytocin

Funded Year: 2009

Prader Willi Syndrome is characterized by a range of well-recognised symptoms including overeating and other food obsessions, rage attacks or tantrums, skin-picking, obsessions, abnormalities of sleep breathing and body temperature, and diificulties in learning and understanding social cues. These difficulties have serious impacts on the health of false

Exenatide: A potential treatment for hyperphagia and obesity in persons with Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a condition characterized by growth hormone deficiency, hypogonadism, various behavioral disturbances, an insatiable hunger drive and excessive eating leading to life-threatening obesity. The specific causes of the disturbed eating behavior in persons with PWS remain unknown. More importantly, effective therapies for false

Identification of substances that substitute for the loss of snoRNAs from the Prader-Willi critical region

Funded Year: 2009

Genetic studies strongly indicate that the Prader-Willi syndrome is caused by the loss of small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNA). SnoRNAs are short RNAs that do not encode a protein. In most cases studied, snoRNAs help in the modification of other RNAs. However, the function of the snoRNAs missing in people with Prader-Willi syndrome is not clear. In false

Role of the HBII-85 snoRNA cluster in the pathogenesis of PWS

Funded Year: 2009

It has been known for many years that loss of function of the copy of the DNA inherited from the father for genes in the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) region cause PWS. However, there are multiple genes in the region, and it has not been clear as to exactly which gene or genes cause PWS. Based on studies of a series of rare families with false

An improved mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2009

Infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) often suffer failure to thrive that gives way to obesity and excessive eating (hyperphagia) during early childhood. The syndrome is due to the absence of several genes on chromosome 15. Animal models can be used to investigate the etiology of the syndrome and to test potential therapies. Several mutations false

R Loop structures maintain epigenetic imprints at the Prader-Willi Imprinting Center (year 2)

Funded Year: 2009

At the genetic level, Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is due to the lack of expression of a specific portion of chromosome 15. This portion contains genes that, in normal circumstances, are only active on the paternally inherited chromosome. Indeed, the corresponding genes on the maternally inherited chromosome are silenced – a phenomenon called false

Hypocretin/orexin deficiency in Prader-Willi syndrome animal models

Funded Year: 2009

The Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a disease caused by mutations on human chromosome 15 leading to "floppy" infants initially, and obesity and sleep disorders later. Although genetic defects underlying PWS have been documented, it is still not well understood how the loss-of-function of genes results in various symptoms in PWS. It has been shown false

Regulation of expression of Prader-Willi syndrome region genes in the hypothalamus by nutritional and hormonal signals

Funded Year: 2009

The cause of the severe obesity characteristic of patients with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is unknown. In the past few years however, there has been an explosion of information regarding the factors involved in the control of bodyweight. In particular, the hormone leptin, which is produced by fat, and a group of molecules in the brain called the false

Ghrelin and peptide YY levels and gene expression in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic condition due to imprinting or the differential expression of genetic information depending on the parent of origin. The majority of subjects with PWS have a deletion of chromosome 15q11-q13 region received from the father while others have maternal disomy 15 (both 15s from the mother) or a mutation false

Understanding the action of ghrelin in the brain: Identification of novel treatments for hyperghrelinaemia

Funded Year: 2009

(Year 2 of this project)

Understanding the action of ghrelin in the brain: Identification of novel targets for hyperghrelinemia

Funded Year: 2009

In patients suffering Prader-Willi syndrome it has been shown that there is a greatly elevated level of a hormone known as ghrelin. This hormone is known to normally stimulate hunger and food intake. However, the levels of the circulating hormone leptin that signals the need to reduce food intake and increase energy expenditure is not similarly up false

The sympathetic and enteric nervous systems in necdin-null mice

Funded Year: 2009

Background The automatic nervous system performs many functions that are abnormal in PWS: feeding, drinking, thermoregulation, intestinal motility, reproduction, reaction to stress and infection and together with the autonomic system of the brain, emotion and other complex behaviors. The cells (neurons) of the autonomic nervous system extend false

The role of the midbrain dopaminergic reward circuitry in ghrelin's effects on food intake and body weight

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a disorder characterized by numerous medical conditions, including excessive eating, low metabolic rate, growth hormone deficiency, hypogonadism and various cognitive deficits. In fact, obese individuals with PWS are described as having a nearly constant state of hunger, which manifests in various maladaptive feeding false

The orexin system in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by a number of clinical features, including short stature, poor muscle development, excessive appetite with progressive obesity, mental retardation, behavioural abnormalities and sleep disturbances. Obesity occurs in over 90% of affected individuals and is the most prominent physical false

Synaptology in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Human behavior is determined by the brain. The function of the brain relies on connections between various types of neurons. The main form of communication between neurons is via the so called synapses. The number and type of synapses between neurons are determinants of behavior. Thus, we hypothesize that altered behavior in people with PWS is due false

snoRNAs located in the PWS critical region regulate alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs

Funded Year: 2009

Prader Willi syndrome is caused by the loss of gene expression from a known region in the human genome. In almost all genetic diseases studied, the loss of gene expression results in a loss of a certain protein, since ultimately proteins are made from genes. One problem in understanding the Prader-Willi syndrome is that only a few proteins are false

Role of PWCR1 snoRNAs in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the genetic and pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS. We have focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called PWCR1/HBII85 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA), that was discovered in our laboratory. Studies of rare cases of PWS with smaller deletions and false

PYY 3-36 and PP: Potential targets for co-treatment against hyperphagia and obesity

Funded Year: 2009

An insatiable appetite, in conjunction with a low metabolic rate, means that obesity and all of its associated health risks are common in people with Prader-Willi syndrome. Overeating is one of the main barriers to independent living in adults with PWS. Moreover, attempts to control their food intake often lead to exacerbation of behavioral false

PWS mouse model with deleted snoRNA cluster

Funded Year: 2009

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the genetic and pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS. We believe that a detailed level of understanding is necessary to design rational interventions. Recently, our laboratory has focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called PWCR1/HBII-85 small false

Exploring the potential of using demethylation drugs to treat PWS

Funded Year: 2009

More than 95% of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) cases are caused by either a large deletion of paternal chromosome 15q11-q13 or maternal uniparental disomy (UPD) of chromosome 15. The major gene or genes responsible for PWS are subject to genomic imprinting and exclusively expressed from paternal chromosome. For patients with a large chromosomal false

Evaluation of sensory processing in individuals with PWS

Funded Year: 2009

Individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) have been described by parents and clinicians as having difficulty with regulation of sensory stimuli from the environment. It is suspected that this problem may be related to other symptoms of PWS such as poor satiety recognition, decreased sensitivity to pain, tendency to self-injure and sleep issues. false

Endocrine and molecular basis for Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Despite years of study, we do not yet know the basis of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), either the roles of the genes defective in PWS or the basis of the clinical features. Many people think the hypothalamus, a small brain region controlling appetite and many endocrine functions is solely responsible, yet this may not be the single cause and using a false

The effect of growth hormone replacement therapy on physical and behavioral sexual development in persons with PWS

Funded Year: 2009

This study examines the effect of growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT) on physical and behavioral sexual maturation in males and females with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Previously, sexual maturity among affected individuals has been largely ignored due in part to the assumed universality of underdeveloped/immature genitals, lack of sex false

Activation of the maternal allele at the PWS/AS domain as a potential therapeutic approach (year 1)

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) results from inactivation of a domain on the paternal chromosome 15 while the same domain on chromosome 15 that is of maternal origin is normally inactivated. This situation in Prader-Willi patients is therefore associated with complete silencing of a relatively large number of genes that are located in this domain. false

The risk of early onset Alzheimer's disease in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is well-known as a condition of old age, prevalence rising with age from about 70 years. However, some groups appear to be at risk from a much earlier age, for example people with Down's syndrome. Recently, in pathological studies of people with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) who died aged over 40 years, signs of AD have been false

The effect of growth hormone replacement therapy on physical and behavioral sexual development in persons with PWS

Funded Year: 2009

This is Year 2 of a study to examine the effect of growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT) on physical and behavioral sexual maturation in males and females with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Previously, sexual maturity among affected individuals has been largely ignored due in part to the assumed universality of underdeveloped/immature genitals, false

R-Loop structures maintain epigenetic imprints at the Prader-Willi imprinting center

Funded Year: 2009

At the genetic level, Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is due to the lack of expression of a specific portion of chromosome 15. This portion contains genes that, in normal circumstances, are only active on the paternally inherited chromosome. Indeed, the corresponding genes on the maternally inherited chromosome are silenced – a phenomenon called false

PYY and PP: Potential targets for co-treatment against hyperphagia and obesity

Funded Year: 2009

An insatiable appetite, in conjunction with a low metabolic rate, means that obesity and all of its associated health risks are common in people with Prader-Willi syndrome. Overeating is one of the main barriers to independent living I adults with Prader-Willi syndrome. Moreover, attempts to control their food intake often lead to exacerbation of false

Linking learning with neurodevelopmental functioning: Management strategies for children with Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) exhibit wide variation in their behavior and educational profiles, which has made the development of effective teaching strategies difficult for many educators. The proposed study would attempt to remedy this problem through the development of rating forms that would provide specific, detailed information false

Exploring the potential mitochondrial dysfunction in mouse models of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a genetic, metabolic and behavioral disorder, is caused by paternal deficiency for human chromosome 15. Clinic presentations include infantile hypotonia, difficult feeding, mental retardation, hypogonadism and obesity. Mitochondria play a critical role in metabolism, energy production and cell death. There are now a false

Behavioral treatment of obsessive-compulsive symptoms

Funded Year: 2009

Obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms are often present among youth with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS). They are also associated with considerable problems in the daily functioning of the child and his/her family. Although medication and behavioral treatments exist that target OC symptoms among youth without PWS, these treatments have not been false

An improved mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Mammals have two copies of most genes, one copy having been inherited from each parent. While most genes are expressed equally from both parental copies, some genes are expressed from only one parent's copy. Genes involved in Prader-Willi syndrome are normally expressed exclusively from the chromosome inherited from the father, and PWS patients false

The autonomic nervous system in necdin-null mice

Funded Year: 2009

Background. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) performs functions that are abnormal in PWS: feeding, drinking, thermoregulation, intestinal motility, reproduction, reaction to stress and infection, and together with the ANS of the brain, emotion and other complex behaviors. The cells (neurons) of the ANS communicate with important organs such as false

Activation of the maternal allele at the PWS/AS domain (Year 2)

Funded Year: 2009

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) results from inactivation of a domain on the paternal chromosome 15 while the same domain on chromosome 15 that is of maternal origin is normally inactivated. This situation in Prader-Willi patients is therefore associated with complete silencing of a relatively large number of genes that are located in this domain. false

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