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Title: Alkaptonuria is a novel human secondary amyloidogenic disease
Authors: Millucci, Lia 
Spreafico, Adriano
Tinti, Laura
Braconi, Daniela 
Ghezzi, Lorenzo
Paccagnini, Eugenio
Bernardini, Giulia 
Amato, Loredana
Laschi, Marcella
Selvi, E.
Galeazzi, Mauro
Mannoni, A.
Benucci, M.
Lupetti, Pietro
Chellini, Federico
Orlandini, Maurizio 
Santucci, Annalisa 
Keywords: Ochronosis, Amyloidosis, Homogentisic acid
Issue Date: 2012
Project: None 
Alkaptonuria (AKU) is an ultra-rare disease developed from the lack of homogentisic acid oxidase activity, causing homogentisic acid (HGA) accumulation that produces a HGA-melanin ochronotic pigment, of unknown composition. There is no therapy for AKU. Our aim was to verify if AKU implied a secondary amyloidosis. Congo Red, Thioflavin-T staining and TEM were performed to assess amyloid presence in AKU specimens (cartilage, synovia, periumbelical fat, salivary gland) and in HGA-treated human chondrocytes and cartilage. SAA and SAP deposition was examined using immunofluorescence and their levels were evaluated in the patients' plasma by ELISA. 2D electrophoresis was undertaken in AKU cells to evaluate the levels of proteins involved in amyloidogenesis. AKU osteoarticular tissues contained SAA-amyloid in 7/7 patients. Ochronotic pigment and amyloid co-localized in AKU osteoarticular tissues. SAA and SAP composition of the deposits assessed secondary type of amyloidosis. High levels of SAA and SAP were found in AKU patients' plasma. Systemic amyloidosis was assessed by Congo Red staining of patients' abdominal fat and salivary gland. AKU is the second pathology after Parkinson's disease where amyloid is associated with a form of melanin. Aberrant expression of proteins involved in amyloidogenesis has been found in AKU cells. Our findings on alkaptonuria as a novel type II AA amyloidosis open new important perspectives for its therapy, since methotrexate treatment proved to significantly reduce in vitro HGA-induced A-amyloid aggregates.
ISSN: 0925-4439
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.07.011
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