Mutations in SCN1A and other ion channel genes can cause different epileptic phenotypes, but the precise mechanisms underlying the development of hyperexcitable networks are largely unknown. Here, we present a multisystem analysis of an SCN1A mouse model carrying the NaV1.1-R1648H mutation, which causes febrile seizures and epilepsy in humans. We found a ubiquitous hypoexcitability of interneurons in thalamus, cortex, and hippocampus, without detectable changes in excitatory neurons. Interestingly, somatic Na(+) channels in interneurons and persistent Na(+) currents were not significantly changed. Instead, the key mechanism of interneuron dysfunction was a deficit of action potential initiation at the axon initial segment that was identified by analyzing action potential firing. This deficit increased with the duration of firing periods, suggesting that increased slow inactivation, as recorded for recombinant mutated channels, could play an important role. The deficit in interneuron firing caused reduced action potential-driven inhibition of excitatory neurons as revealed by less frequent spontaneous but not miniature IPSCs. Multiple approaches indicated increased spontaneous thalamocortical and hippocampal network activity in mutant mice, as follows: (1) more synchronous and higher-frequency firing was recorded in primary neuronal cultures plated on multielectrode arrays; (2) thalamocortical slices examined by field potential recordings revealed spontaneous activities and pathological high-frequency oscillations; and (3) multineuron Ca(2+) imaging in hippocampal slices showed increased spontaneous neuronal activity. Thus, an interneuron-specific generalized defect in action potential initiation causes multisystem disinhibition and network hyperexcitability, which can well explain the occurrence of seizures in the studied mouse model and in patients carrying this mutation.
We report a consanguineous family with 2 affected individuals whose clinical symptoms closely resembled MERRF (myoclonus epilepsy with ragged red fibers) syndrome including severe myoclonic epilepsy, progressive spastic tetraparesis, progressive impairment of vision and hearing, as well as progressive cognitive decline.
Several potassium channel genes have been implicated in different neurological disorders including genetic and acquired epilepsy. Among them, KCNQ2 and KCNQ3, coding for KV7.2 and KV7.3 voltage-gated potassium channels, present an example how genetic dissection of an epileptic disorder can lead not only to a better understanding of disease mechanisms but also broaden our knowledge about the physiological function of the affected proteins and enable novel approaches in the antiepileptic therapy design. In this chapter, we focus on the neuronal KV7 channels and associated genetic disorders-channelopathies, in particular benign familial neonatal seizures, epileptic encephalopathy, and peripheral nerve hyperexcitability (neuromyotonia, myokymia) caused by KCNQ2 or KCNQ3 mutations. Furthermore, strategies using KV7 channels as targets or tools for the treatment of epileptic diseases caused by neuronal hyperexcitability are being addressed.
Medicinal plants used for the treatment of epilepsy are potentially a valuable source of novel antiepileptic small molecules. To identify anticonvulsant secondary metabolites, we performed an in vivo, zebrafish-based screen of medicinal plants used in Southeast Asia for the treatment of seizures. Solanum torvum Sw. (Solanaceae) was identified as having significant anticonvulsant activity in zebrafish larvae with seizures induced by the GABAA antagonist pentylenetetrazol (PTZ). This finding correlates well with the ethnomedical use of this plant in the Philippines, where a water decoction of S. torvum leaves is used to treat epileptic seizures. HPLC microfractionation of the bioactive crude extract, in combination with the in vivo zebrafish seizure assay, enabled the rapid localization of several bioactive compounds that were partially identified online by UHPLC-TOF-MS as steroid glycosides. Targeted isolation of the active constituents from the methanolic extract enabled the complete de novo structure identification of the six main bioactive compounds that were also present in the traditional preparation. To partially mimic the in vivo metabolism of these triterpene glycosides, their common aglycone was generated by acid hydrolysis. The isolated molecules exhibited significant anticonvulsant activity in zebrafish seizure assays. These results underscore the potential of zebrafish bioassay-guided microfractionation to rapidly identify novel bioactive small molecules of natural origin.
Idiopathic-generalized epilepsy (IGE) is currently considered to be a genetic disease without structural alterations on conventional MRI. However, voxel-based morphometry has shown abnormalities in IGE. Another method to analyze the microstructure of the brain is diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI). We sought to clarify which structural alterations are present in IGE and the most frequent subsyndrome juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME).
Electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) are widely used to localize brain activity and their spatial resolutions have been compared in several publications. While most clinical studies demonstrated higher accuracy of MEG source localization, simulation studies suggested a more accurate EEG than MEG localization for the same number of channels. However, studies comparing real MEG and EEG data with equivalent number of channels are scarce. We investigated 14 right-handed healthy subjects performing a motor task in MEG, high-density-(hd-) EEG and fMRI as well as a somatosensory task in MEG and hd-EEG and compared source analysis results of the evoked brain activity between modalities with different head models. Using individual head models, hd-EEG localized significantly closer to the anatomical reference point obtained by fMRI than MEG. Source analysis results were least accurate for hd-EEG based on a standard head model. Further, hd-EEG and MEG localized more medially than fMRI. Localization accuracy of electric source imaging is dependent on the head model used with more accurate results obtained with individual head models. If this is taken into account, EEG localization can be more accurate than MEG localization for the same number of channels.
Progressive myoclonus epilepsies (PMEs) are a group of rare, inherited disorders manifesting with action myoclonus, tonic-clonic seizures and ataxia. We sequenced the exomes of 84 unrelated individuals with PME of unknown cause and molecularly solved 26 cases (31%). Remarkably, a recurrent de novo mutation, c.959G>A (p.Arg320His), in KCNC1 was identified as a new major cause for PME. Eleven unrelated exome-sequenced (13%) and two affected individuals in a secondary cohort (7%) had this mutation. KCNC1 encodes KV3.1, a subunit of the KV3 voltage-gated potassium ion channels, which are major determinants of high-frequency neuronal firing. Functional analysis of the Arg320His mutant channel showed a dominant-negative loss-of-function effect. Ten cases had pathogenic mutations in known PME-associated genes (NEU1, NHLRC1, AFG3L2, EPM2A, CLN6 and SERPINI1). Identification of mutations in PRNP, SACS and TBC1D24 expand their phenotypic spectra to PME. These findings provide insights into the molecular genetic basis of PME and show the role of de novo mutations in this disease entity.
Rolandic epilepsy (RE) is the most common idiopathic focal childhood epilepsy. Its molecular basis is largely unknown and a complex genetic etiology is assumed in the majority of affected individuals. The present study tested whether six large recurrent copy number variants at 1q21, 15q11.2, 15q13.3, 16p11.2, 16p13.11 and 22q11.2 previously associated with neurodevelopmental disorders also increase risk of RE. Our association analyses revealed a significant excess of the 600 kb genomic duplication at the 16p11.2 locus (chr16: 29.5-30.1 Mb) in 393 unrelated patients with typical (n = 339) and atypical (ARE; n = 54) RE compared with the prevalence in 65 046 European population controls (5/393 cases versus 32/65 046 controls; Fisher's exact test P = 2.83 × 10(-6), odds ratio = 26.2, 95% confidence interval: 7.9-68.2). In contrast, the 16p11.2 duplication was not detected in 1738 European epilepsy patients with either temporal lobe epilepsy (n = 330) and genetic generalized epilepsies (n = 1408), suggesting a selective enrichment of the 16p11.2 duplication in idiopathic focal childhood epilepsies (Fisher's exact test P = 2.1 × 10(-4)). In a subsequent screen among children carrying the 16p11.2 600 kb rearrangement we identified three patients with RE-spectrum epilepsies in 117 duplication carriers (2.6%) but none in 202 carriers of the reciprocal deletion. Our results suggest that the 16p11.2 duplication represents a significant genetic risk factor for typical and atypical RE.
Mutations in SLC2A1, encoding the glucose transporter type 1 (Glut1), cause a wide range of neurological disorders: (1) classical Glut1 deficiency syndrome (Glut1-DS) with an early onset epileptic encephalopathy including a severe epilepsy, psychomotor delay, ataxia and microcephaly, (2) paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesia (PED) and (3) various forms of idiopathic/genetic generalized epilepsies such as different forms of absence epilepsies. Up to now, focal epilepsy was not associated with SLC2A1 mutations. Here, we describe four cases in which focal seizures present the main or at least initial category of seizures. Two patients suffered from a classical Glut1-DS, whereas two individuals presented with focal epilepsy related to PED. We identified three novel SLC2A1 mutations in these unrelated individuals. Our study underscores that focal epilepsy can be caused by SLC2A1 mutations or that focal seizures may present the main type of seizures. Patients with focal epilepsy and PED should undergo genetic testing and can benefit from a ketogenic diet. But also individuals with pharmaco-resistant focal epilepsy and cognitive impairment might be candidates for genetic testing in SLC2A1.
Rolandic epilepsy (RE) and its atypical variants (atypical rolandic epilepsy, ARE) along the spectrum of epilepsy-aphasia disorders are characterized by a strong but largely unknown genetic basis. Two genes with a putative (ELP4) or a proven (SRPX2) function in neuronal migration were postulated to confer susceptibility to parts of the disease spectrum: the ELP4 gene to centrotemporal spikes and SRPX2 to ARE. To reexamine these findings, we investigated a cohort of 280 patients of European ancestry with RE/ARE for the etiological contribution of these genes and their close interaction partners. We performed next-generation sequencing and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-array based genotyping to screen for sequence and structural variants. In comparison to European controls we could not detect an enrichment of rare deleterious variants of ELP4, SRPX2, or their interaction partners in affected individuals. The previously described functional p.N327S variant in the X chromosomal SRPX2 gene was detected in two affected individuals (0.81%) and also in controls (0.26%), with some preponderance of male patients. We did not detect an association of SNPs in the ELP4 gene with centrotemporal spikes as previously reported. In conclusion our data do not support a major role of ELP4 and SRPX2 in the etiology of RE/ARE.
Epileptic encephalopathies, including Dravet syndrome, are severe treatment-resistant epilepsies with developmental regression. We examined a mouse model based on a human ?1 sodium channel subunit (Scn1b) mutation. Homozygous mutant mice shared phenotypic features and pharmaco-sensitivity with Dravet syndrome. Patch-clamp analysis showed that mutant subicular and layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons had increased action potential firing rates, presumably as a consequence of their increased input resistance. These changes were not seen in L5 or CA1 pyramidal neurons. This raised the concept of a regional seizure mechanism that was supported by data showing increased spontaneous synaptic activity in the subiculum but not CA1. Importantly, no changes in firing or synaptic properties of gamma-aminobutyric acidergic interneurons from mutant mice were observed, which is in contrast with Scn1a-based models of Dravet syndrome. Morphological analysis of subicular pyramidal neurons revealed reduced dendritic arborization. The antiepileptic drug retigabine, a K+ channel opener that reduces input resistance, dampened action potential firing and protected mutant mice from thermal seizures. These results suggest a novel mechanism of disease genesis in genetic epilepsy and demonstrate an effective mechanism-based treatment of the disease.
The identification of valid biomarkers for outcome prediction of diseases and improvement of drug response, as well as avoidance of side effects is an emerging field of interest in medicine. The concept of individualized therapy is becoming increasingly important in the treatment of patients with epilepsy, as predictive markers for disease prognosis and treatment outcome are still limited. Currently, the clinical decision process for selection of an antiepileptic drug (AED) is predominately based on the patient's epileptic syndrome and side effect profiles of the AEDs, but not on effectiveness data. Although standard dosages of AEDs are used, supplemented, in part, by therapeutic monitoring, the response of an individual patient to a specific AED is generally unpredictable, and the standard care of patients in antiepileptic treatment is more or less based on trial and error. Therefore, there is an urgent need for valid predictive biomarkers to guide patient-tailored individualized treatment strategies in epilepsy, a research area that is still in its infancy. This review focuses on genomic factors as part of an individual concept for AED therapy summarizing examples that influence the prognosis of the disease and the response to AEDs, including side effects.
Recent studies reported DEPDC5 loss-of-function mutations in different focal epilepsy syndromes. Here we identified 1 predicted truncation and 2 missense mutations in 3 children with rolandic epilepsy (3 of 207). In addition, we identified 3 families with unclassified focal childhood epilepsies carrying predicted truncating DEPDC5 mutations (3 of 82). The detected variants were all novel, inherited, and present in all tested affected (n=11) and in 7 unaffected family members, indicating low penetrance. Our findings extend the phenotypic spectrum associated with mutations in DEPDC5 and suggest that rolandic epilepsy, albeit rarely, and other nonlesional childhood epilepsies are among the associated syndromes.
Febrile seizures affect 2-4% of all children and have a strong genetic component. Recurrent mutations in three main genes (SCN1A, SCN1B and GABRG2) have been identified that cause febrile seizures with or without epilepsy. Here we report the identification of mutations in STX1B, encoding syntaxin-1B, that are associated with both febrile seizures and epilepsy. Whole-exome sequencing in independent large pedigrees identified cosegregating STX1B mutations predicted to cause an early truncation or an in-frame insertion or deletion. Three additional nonsense or missense mutations and a de novo microdeletion encompassing STX1B were then identified in 449 familial or sporadic cases. Video and local field potential analyses of zebrafish larvae with antisense knockdown of stx1b showed seizure-like behavior and epileptiform discharges that were highly sensitive to increased temperature. Wild-type human syntaxin-1B but not a mutated protein rescued the effects of stx1b knockdown in zebrafish. Our results thus implicate STX1B and the presynaptic release machinery in fever-associated epilepsy syndromes.
Perampanel (PER) has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for adjunctive treatment of patients with partial-onset seizures from age 12 years on. It has been introduced to the market in Germany and Austria in 2012. This cross-sectional observational study summarizes the clinical experience of nine centers with adjunctive PER. Patients were consecutively followed from the initiation of PER on. Only patients with a minimum observational period of six months (in case of ongoing treatment) were recruited. Efficacy data reflect the preceding three months at last observation, tolerability data were assessed at the last observation carried forward. 281 patients were included. After six months 169 were still on PER so that a retention rate of 60% resulted. 43 patients were seizure-free for the preceding 3 months (15%). Overall incidence of adverse events was 52.0%. The leading adverse events were somnolence (24.6%) and dizziness (19.6%) followed by ataxia (3.9%), aggression (2.8%), nausea (2.5%) and irritability (2.1%). We conclude that adjunctive PER may lead to at least temporary freedom of seizures in some of these highly difficult-to-treat patients. Adverse events are not uncommon.
Epilepsy comprises several syndromes, amongst the most common being mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis. Seizures in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis are typically drug-resistant, and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis is frequently associated with important co-morbidities, mandating the search for better understanding and treatment. The cause of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis is unknown, but there is an association with childhood febrile seizures. Several rarer epilepsies featuring febrile seizures are caused by mutations in SCN1A, which encodes a brain-expressed sodium channel subunit targeted by many anti-epileptic drugs. We undertook a genome-wide association study in 1018 people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and 7552 control subjects, with validation in an independent sample set comprising 959 people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and 3591 control subjects. To dissect out variants related to a history of febrile seizures, we tested cases with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with (overall n = 757) and without (overall n = 803) a history of febrile seizures. Meta-analysis revealed a genome-wide significant association for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with febrile seizures at the sodium channel gene cluster on chromosome 2q24.3 [rs7587026, within an intron of the SCN1A gene, P = 3.36 × 10(-9), odds ratio (A) = 1.42, 95% confidence interval: 1.26-1.59]. In a cohort of 172 individuals with febrile seizures, who did not develop epilepsy during prospective follow-up to age 13 years, and 6456 controls, no association was found for rs7587026 and febrile seizures. These findings suggest SCN1A involvement in a common epilepsy syndrome, give new direction to biological understanding of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis with febrile seizures, and open avenues for investigation of prognostic factors and possible prevention of epilepsy in some children with febrile seizures.
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of death in people with chronic refractory epilepsy. Very rarely, SUDEP occurs in epilepsy monitoring units, providing highly informative data for its still elusive pathophysiology. The MORTEMUS study expanded these data through comprehensive evaluation of cardiorespiratory arrests encountered in epilepsy monitoring units worldwide.
There is a pressing need to address the current major gaps in epilepsy treatment, in particular drug-resistant epilepsy, antiepileptogenic therapies, and comorbidities. A major concern in the development of new therapies is that current preclinical testing is not sufficiently predictive for clinical efficacy. Methodologic limitations of current preclinical paradigms may partly account for this discrepancy. Here we propose and discuss a strategy for implementing a "phase II" multicenter preclinical drug trial model based on clinical phase II/III studies designed to generate more rigorous preclinical data for efficacy. The goal is to improve the evidence resulting from preclinical studies for investigational new drugs that have shown strong promise in initial preclinical "phase I" studies. This should reduce the risk for expensive clinical studies in epilepsy and therefore increase the appeal for funders (industry and government) to invest in their clinical development.
Episodic memory processes can be investigated using different functional MRI (fMRI) paradigms. The purpose of the present study was to examine correlations between neuropsychological memory test scores and BOLD signal changes during fMRI scanning using three different memory tasks.
Idiopathic focal epilepsy (IFE) with rolandic spikes is the most common childhood epilepsy, comprising a phenotypic spectrum from rolandic epilepsy (also benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes, BECTS) to atypical benign partial epilepsy (ABPE), Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) and epileptic encephalopathy with continuous spike and waves during slow-wave sleep (CSWS). The genetic basis is largely unknown. We detected new heterozygous mutations in GRIN2A in 27 of 359 affected individuals from 2 independent cohorts with IFE (7.5%; P = 4.83 × 10(-18), Fishers exact test). Mutations occurred significantly more frequently in the more severe phenotypes, with mutation detection rates ranging from 12/245 (4.9%) in individuals with BECTS to 9/51 (17.6%) in individuals with CSWS (P = 0.009, Cochran-Armitage test for trend). In addition, exon-disrupting microdeletions were found in 3 of 286 individuals (1.0%; P = 0.004, Fishers exact test). These results establish alterations of the gene encoding the NMDA receptor NR2A subunit as a major genetic risk factor for IFE.
Susacs Syndrome (SS) consists of the triad of encephalopathy, branch retinal artery occlusions (BRAO) and hearing loss (HL). Histopathologically, SS is characterised by a microangiopathy, and some observations suggest that an immune-mediated damage of endothelial cells might play a role. These findings also implicate a similarity between SS and other autoimmune diseases, most notably juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). However, SS and JDM are commonly thought to affect distinct and non-overlapping sets of organs, and it is currently not clear how these specificities arise. Moreover, in the absence of clinical trials, some authors suggest that therapeutic approaches in SS should rely on the model of other autoimmune diseases such as JDM.
An international workshop on juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) was conducted in Avignon, France in May 2011. During that workshop, a group of 45 experts on JME, together with one of the founding fathers of the syndrome of JME ("Janz syndrome"), Prof. Dr. Dieter Janz from Berlin, reached a consensus on diagnostic criteria and management of JME. The international experts on JME proposed two sets of criteria, which will be helpful for both clinical and scientific purposes. Class I criteria encompass myoclonic jerks without loss of consciousness exclusively occurring on or after awakening and associated with typical generalized epileptiform EEG abnormalities, with an age of onset between 10 and 25. Class II criteria allow the inclusion of myoclonic jerks predominantly occurring after awakening, generalized epileptiform EEG abnormalities with or without concomitant myoclonic jerks, and a greater time window for age at onset (6-25years). For both sets of criteria, patients should have a clear history of myoclonic jerks predominantly occurring after awakening and an EEG with generalized epileptiform discharges supporting a diagnosis of idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Patients with JME require special management because their epilepsy starts in the vulnerable period of adolescence and, accordingly, they have lifestyle issues that typically increase the likelihood of seizures (sleep deprivation, exposure to stroboscopic flashes in discos, alcohol intake, etc.) with poor adherence to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Results of an inventory of the different clinical management strategies are given. This article is part of a supplemental special issue entitled Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy: What is it Really?
Dravet syndrome is a severe epilepsy syndrome characterized by infantile onset of therapy-resistant, fever-sensitive seizures followed by cognitive decline. Mutations in SCN1A explain about 75% of cases with Dravet syndrome; 90% of these mutations arise de novo. We studied a cohort of nine Dravet-syndrome-affected individuals without an SCN1A mutation (these included some atypical cases with onset at up to 2 years of age) by using whole-exome sequencing in proband-parent trios. In two individuals, we identified a de novo loss-of-function mutation in CHD2 (encoding chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 2). A third CHD2 mutation was identified in an epileptic proband of a second (stage 2) cohort. All three individuals with a CHD2 mutation had intellectual disability and fever-sensitive generalized seizures, as well as prominent myoclonic seizures starting in the second year of life or later. To explore the functional relevance of CHD2 haploinsufficiency in an in vivo model system, we knocked down chd2 in zebrafish by using targeted morpholino antisense oligomers. chd2-knockdown larvae exhibited altered locomotor activity, and the epileptic nature of this seizure-like behavior was confirmed by field-potential recordings that revealed epileptiform discharges similar to seizures in affected persons. Both altered locomotor activity and epileptiform discharges were absent in appropriate control larvae. Our study provides evidence that de novo loss-of-function mutations in CHD2 are a cause of epileptic encephalopathy with generalized seizures.
Missense mutations in SCN2A, encoding the brain sodium channel NaV 1.2, have been described in benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures (BFNIS), a self-limiting disorder, whereas several SCN2A de novo nonsense mutations have been found in patients with more severe phenotypes including epileptic encephalopathy. We report a family with BFNIS originating from Madagascar. Onset extended from 3 to 9 months of age. Interictal EEGs were normal. In two patients, ictal electroencephalography (EEG) studies showed partial seizure patterns with secondary generalization in one. Seizures remitted before 18 months of age, with or without medication. Intellectual development was normal. A novel missense mutation of SCN2A, c.4766A>G/p.Tyr1589Cys, was found in a highly conserved region of NaV 1.2 (D4/S2-S3). Functional studies using heterologous expression in tsA201 cells and whole-cell patch clamping revealed a depolarizing shift of steady-state inactivation, increased persistent Na(+) current, a slowing of fast inactivation and an acceleration of its recovery, thus a gain-of-function. Using an action potential waveform in a voltage-clamp experiment we indicated an increased inward Na(+) current at subthreshold voltages, which can explain a neuronal hyperexcitability. Our results suggest that this mutation induces neuronal hyperexcitability, resulting in infantile epilepsy with favorable outcome.
Itch is a frequent complaint reported by patients and is usually ascribed to dermatological or metabolic causes. In neurological disorders, however, it is a very unusual symptom and thus its neurological aetiology is likely to be overlooked. There are only very few reports about permanent itch related to lesions of the central nervous system. To our knowledge we report the first case of episodic itch associated with a central nervous lesion.
ClC-2 is a voltage-dependent chloride channel that activates slowly at voltages negative to the chloride reversal potential. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and other nucleotides have been shown to bind to carboxy-terminal cystathionine-ß-synthase (CBS) domains of ClC-2, but the functional consequences of binding are not sufficiently understood. We here studied the effect of nucleotides on channel gating using single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp recordings on transfected mammalian cells. ATP slowed down macroscopic activation and deactivation time courses in a dose-dependent manner. Removal of the complete carboxy-terminus abolishes the effect of ATP, suggesting that CBS domains are necessary for ATP regulation of ClC-2 gating. Single-channel recordings identified long-lasting closed states of ATP-bound channels as basis of this gating deceleration. ClC-2 channel dimers exhibit two largely independent protopores that are opened and closed individually as well as by a common gating process. A seven-state model of common gating with altered voltage dependencies of opening and closing transitions for ATP-bound states correctly describes the effects of ATP on macroscopic and microscopic ClC-2 currents. To test for a potential pathophysiological impact of ClC-2 regulation by ATP, we studied ClC-2 channels carrying naturally occurring sequence variants found in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy, G715E, R577Q, and R653T. All naturally occurring sequence variants accelerate common gating in the presence but not in the absence of ATP. We propose that ClC-2 uses ATP as a co-factor to slow down common gating for sufficient electrical stability of neurons under physiological conditions.
The group of the rare progressive myoclonic epilepsies (PME) include a wide spectrum of mitochondrial and metabolic diseases. In juvenile and adult ages, MERRF (myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres) is the most common form. The underlying genetic defect in most patients with the syndrome of MERRF is a mutation in the tRNALys gene, but mutations were also detected in the tRNAPhe gene.
Structural variations disrupting the gene encoding the neuron-specific splicing regulator RBFOX1 have been reported in three patients exhibiting epilepsy in comorbidity with other neuropsychiatric disorders. Consistently, the Rbfox1 knockout mouse model showed an increased susceptibility of seizures. The present candidate gene study tested whether exon-disrupting deletions of RBFOX1 increase the risk of idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs), representing the largest group of genetically determined epilepsies.
Sporadic and familial hemiplegic migraines are rare paroxysmal disorders characterized by transient hemiparesis and headache. The distinction is based on whether other family members are affected. In 50% of cases, these migraines are caused by CACNA1 A missense mutations.
Recent studies reported mutations in the gene encoding the proline-rich transmembrane protein 2 (PRRT2) to be causative for paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD), PKD combined with infantile seizures (ICCA), and benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS). PRRT2 is a presynaptic protein which seems to play an important role in exocytosis and neurotransmitter release. PKD is the most common form of paroxysmal movement disorder characterized by recurrent brief involuntary hyperkinesias triggered by sudden movements. Here, we sequenced PRRT2 in 14 sporadic and 8 familial PKD and ICCA cases of Caucasian origin and identified three novel mutations (c.919C>T/p.Gln307, c.388delG/p.Ala130Profs 46, c.884G>A/p.Arg295Gln) predicting two truncated proteins and one probably damaging point mutation. A review of all published cases is also included. PRRT2 mutations occur more frequently in familial forms of PRRT2-related syndromes (80-100 %) than in sporadic cases (33-46 %) suggesting further heterogeneity in the latter. PRRT2 mutations were rarely described in other forms of paroxysmal dyskinesias deviating from classical PKD, as we report here in one ICCA family without kinesigenic triggers. Mutations are exclusively found in two exons of the PRRT2 gene at a high rate across all syndromes and with one major mutation (c.649dupC) in a mutational hotspot of nine cytosines, which is responsible for 57 % of all cases in all phenotypes. We therefore propose that genetic analysis rapidly performed in early stages of the disease is highly cost-effective and can help to avoid further unnecessary diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
Neurexins are neuronal adhesion molecules located in the presynaptic terminal, where they interact with postsynaptic neuroligins to form a transsynaptic complex required for efficient neurotransmission in the brain. Recently, deletions and point mutations of the neurexin 1 (NRXN1) gene have been associated with a broad spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate if NRXN1 deletions also increase the risk of idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs).
Partial deletions of the gene encoding the neuronal splicing regulator RBFOX1 have been reported in a range of neurodevelopmental diseases, including idiopathic generalized epilepsy. The RBFOX1 protein and its homologues (RBFOX2 and RBFOX3) regulate alternative splicing of many neuronal transcripts involved in the homeostatic control of neuronal excitability. In this study, we explored if structural microdeletions and exonic sequence variations in RBFOX1, RBFOX2, RBFOX3 confer susceptibility to rolandic epilepsy (RE), a common idiopathic focal childhood epilepsy. By high-density SNP array screening of 289 unrelated RE patients, we identified two hemizygous deletions, a 365?kb deletion affecting two untranslated 5-terminal exons of RBFOX1 and a 43 kb deletion spanning exon 3 of RBFOX3. Exome sequencing of 242 RE patients revealed two novel probably deleterious variants in RBFOX1, a frameshift mutation (p.A233Vfs*74) and a hexanucleotide deletion (p.A299_A300del), and a novel nonsense mutation in RBFOX3 (p.Y287*). Although the three variants were inherited from unaffected parents, they were present in all family members exhibiting the RE trait clinically or electroencephalographically with only one exception. In contrast, no deleterious mutations of RBFOX1 and RBFOX3 were found in the exomes of 6503 non-RE subjects deposited in the Exome Variant Server database. The observed RBFOX3 exon 3 deletion and nonsense mutation suggest that RBFOX3 represents a novel risk factor for RE, indicating that exon deletions and truncating mutations of RBFOX1 and RBFOX3 contribute to the genetic variance of partial and generalized idiopathic epilepsy syndromes.
Benign familial neonatal seizures (BFNS) are a dominant epilepsy syndrome caused by mutations in the voltage-gated potassium channels K(V) 7.2 and K(V) 7.3. We examined the molecular pathomechanism of a BFNS-causing mutation (p.N258S) in the extracellular S5-H5 loop of K(V) 7.2. Wild type (WT) and mutant channels, expressed in both Xenopus laevis oocytes and CHO cells, were studied using electrophysiological techniques. The results revealed a pronounced loss-of-function with a dominant-negative effect of the mutant on WT K(V) 7.2 and K(V) 7.3 channels. Since single-channel recordings of K(V) 7.3-K(V) 7.2 and K(V) 7.3-N285S concatemers showed similar properties for both constructs, we hypothesized that the observed reduction in current amplitude was due to a folding and trafficking defect, which was confirmed by biochemical and immunocytochemical experiments revealing a reduced number of mutant channels in the surface membrane. Furthermore, rescuing experiments revealed that upon specific incubation of transfected CHO cells-either at lower temperatures of <30°C or in presence of the agonist retigabine (RTG)-the N258S-derived currents increased fivefold in contrast to the WT. The obtained results represent a first example of temperature and pharmacological rescue of a K(V) 7 mutation and suggest a folding and trafficking deficiency as the cause of reduced current amplitudes with a dominant-negative effect of N258S mutant proteins.
This article represents a synthesis of presentations made by the authors during a scientific meeting held in London on 7 June 2010 and organized by GlaxoSmithKline. Each speaker produced a short précis of his lecture to answer a specific question, resulting in an overview of what we know about the relevance of the mechanisms of action of antiepileptic drugs in determining appropriate combination therapies for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.
Early onset absence epilepsy (EOAE) starting before the age of 4 years constitutes a rare subgroup of the idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs). A strong genetic component in IGE has been suggested by twin and family studies. We describe a boy with absence seizures starting at the age of 9 months whose parents both had childhood absence epilepsy. A 192-kb duplication in 1q21.3 was identified in the proband and his father, encompassing the gene CHRNB2 coding for the ?-2 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the gene ADAR coding for adenosine deaminase, an enzyme responsible for RNA editing. Both are candidate genes for seizure disorders. The duplication was not identified in 191 independent IGE patients (93 EOAE; 98 classical IGE) or in 1,157 population controls.
Ion channelopathies are caused by malfunction or altered regulation of ion channel proteins due to hereditary or acquired protein changes. In neurology, main phenotypes include certain forms of epilepsy, ataxia, migraine, neuropathic pain, myotonia, and muscle weakness including myasthenia and periodic paralyses. The total prevalence of monogenic channelopathies in neurology is about 35:100,000. Susceptibility-related mutations further increase the relevance of channel genes in medicine considerably. As many disease mechanisms have been elucidated by functional characterization on the molecular level, the channelopathies are regarded as model disorders for pathogenesis and treatment of non-monogenic forms of epilepsy and migraine. As more than 35% of marketed drugs target ion channels, there is a high chance to identify compounds that counteract the effects of the mutations.
Many idiopathic epilepsy syndromes have a characteristic age dependence, the underlying molecular mechanisms of which are largely unknown. Here we propose a mechanism that can explain that epileptic spells in benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures occur almost exclusively during the first days to months of life. Benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures are caused by mutations in the gene SCN2A encoding the voltage-gated Na(+) channel Na(V)1.2. We identified two novel SCN2A mutations causing benign familial neonatal-infantile seizures and analysed the functional consequences of these mutations in a neonatal and an adult splice variant of the human Na(+) channel Na(V)1.2 expressed heterologously in tsA201 cells together with beta1 and beta2 subunits. We found significant gating changes leading to a gain-of-function, such as an increased persistent Na(+) current, accelerated recovery from fast inactivation or altered voltage-dependence of steady-state activation. Those were restricted to the neonatal splice variant for one mutation, but more pronounced for the adult form for the other, suggesting that a differential developmental splicing does not provide a general explanation for seizure remission. We therefore analysed the developmental expression of Na(V)1.2 and of another voltage-gated Na(+) channel, Na(V)1.6, using immunohistochemistry and real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in mouse brain slices. We found that Na(V)1.2 channels are expressed early in development at axon initial segments of principal neurons in the hippocampus and cortex, but their expression is diminished and they are gradually replaced as the dominant channel type by Na(V)1.6 during maturation. This finding provides a plausible explanation for the transient expression of seizures that occur due to a gain-of-function of mutant Na(V)1.2 channels.
KV7 voltage-gated potassium channels, encoded by the KCNQ gene family, have caught increasing interest of the scientific community for their important physiological roles, which are emphasized by the fact that four of the five so far identified members are related to different hereditary diseases. Furthermore, these channels prove to be attractive pharmacological targets for treating diseases characterized by membrane hyperexcitability. KV7 channels are expressed in brain, heart, thyroid gland, pancreas, inner ear, muscle, stomach, and intestines. They give rise to functionally important potassium currents, reduction of which results in pathologies such as long QT syndrome, diabetes, neonatal epilepsy, neuromyotonia, or progressive deafness. Here, we summarize some key traits of KV7 channels and review how their molecular deficiencies could explain diverse disease phenotypes. We also assess the therapeutic potential of KV7 channels; in particular, how the activation of KV7 channels by the compounds retigabine and R-L3 may be useful for treatment of epilepsy or cardiac arrhythmia.
GRM4 encoding the group III metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4), is located on the chromosomal segment 6p21.3 where tentative susceptibility loci for Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME) and Photoparoxysmal Response (PPR) have been mapped. The present candidate gene study examined if variation in GRM4 confers susceptibility to IGE.
In this report, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Genetics Commission discusses essential issues to be considered with regard to clinical genetic testing in the epilepsies. Genetic research on the epilepsies has led to the identification of more than 20 genes with a major effect on susceptibility to idiopathic epilepsies. The most important potential clinical application of these discoveries is genetic testing: the use of genetic information, either to clarify the diagnosis in people already known or suspected to have epilepsy (diagnostic testing), or to predict onset of epilepsy in people at risk because of a family history (predictive testing). Although genetic testing has many potential benefits, it also has potential harms, and assessment of these potential benefits and harms in particular situations is complex. Moreover, many treating clinicians are unfamiliar with the types of tests available, how to access them, how to decide whether they should be offered, and what measures should be used to maximize benefit and minimize harm to their patients. Because the field is moving rapidly, with new information emerging practically every day, we present a framework for considering the clinical utility of genetic testing that can be applied to many different syndromes and clinical contexts. Given the current state of knowledge, genetic testing has high clinical utility in few clinical contexts, but in some of these it carries implications for daily clinical practice.
Febrile seizures are a common childhood seizure disorder and a defining feature of genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+), a syndrome frequently associated with Na+ channel mutations. Here, we describe the creation of a knockin mouse heterozygous for the C121W mutation of the beta1 Na+ channel accessory subunit seen in patients with GEFS+. Heterozygous mice with increased core temperature displayed behavioral arrest and were more susceptible to thermal challenge than wild-type mice. Wild-type beta1 was most concentrated in the membrane of axon initial segments (AIS) of pyramidal neurons, while the beta1(C121W) mutant subunit was excluded from AIS membranes. In addition, AIS function, an indicator of neuronal excitability, was substantially enhanced in hippocampal pyramidal neurons of the heterozygous mouse specifically at higher temperatures. Computational modeling predicted that this enhanced excitability was caused by hyperpolarized voltage activation of AIS Na+ channels. This heat-sensitive increased neuronal excitability presumably contributed to the heightened thermal seizure susceptibility and epileptiform discharges seen in patients and mice with beta1(C121W) subunits. We therefore conclude that Na+ channel beta1 subunits modulate AIS excitability and that epilepsy can arise if this modulation is impaired.
Idiopathic generalized epilepsies account for 30% of all epilepsies. Despite a predominant genetic aetiology, the genetic factors predisposing to idiopathic generalized epilepsies remain elusive. Studies of structural genomic variations have revealed a significant excess of recurrent microdeletions at 1q21.1, 15q11.2, 15q13.3, 16p11.2, 16p13.11 and 22q11.2 in various neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, intellectual disability and schizophrenia. Microdeletions at 15q13.3 have recently been shown to constitute a strong genetic risk factor for common idiopathic generalized epilepsy syndromes, implicating that other recurrent microdeletions may also be involved in epileptogenesis. This study aimed to investigate the impact of five microdeletions at the genomic hotspot regions 1q21.1, 15q11.2, 16p11.2, 16p13.11 and 22q11.2 on the genetic risk to common idiopathic generalized epilepsy syndromes. The candidate microdeletions were assessed by high-density single nucleotide polymorphism arrays in 1234 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy from North-western Europe and 3022 controls from the German population. Microdeletions were validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and their breakpoints refined by array comparative genomic hybridization. In total, 22 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (1.8%) carried one of the five novel microdeletions compared with nine controls (0.3%) (odds ratio = 6.1; 95% confidence interval 2.8-13.2; chi(2) = 26.7; 1 degree of freedom; P = 2.4 x 10(-7)). Microdeletions were observed at 1q21.1 [Idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE)/control: 1/1], 15q11.2 (IGE/control: 12/6), 16p11.2 IGE/control: 1/0, 16p13.11 (IGE/control: 6/2) and 22q11.2 (IGE/control: 2/0). Significant associations with IGEs were found for the microdeletions at 15q11.2 (odds ratio = 4.9; 95% confidence interval 1.8-13.2; P = 4.2 x 10(-4)) and 16p13.11 (odds ratio = 7.4; 95% confidence interval 1.3-74.7; P = 0.009). Including nine patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy in this cohort with known 15q13.3 microdeletions (IGE/control: 9/0), parental transmission could be examined in 14 families. While 10 microdeletions were inherited (seven maternal and three paternal transmissions), four microdeletions occurred de novo at 15q13.3 (n = 1), 16p13.11 (n = 2) and 22q11.2 (n = 1). Eight of the transmitting parents were clinically unaffected, suggesting that the microdeletion itself is not sufficient to cause the epilepsy phenotype. Although the microdeletions investigated are individually rare (<1%) in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy, they collectively seem to account for a significant fraction of the genetic variance in common idiopathic generalized epilepsy syndromes. The present results indicate an involvement of microdeletions at 15q11.2 and 16p13.11 in epileptogenesis and strengthen the evidence that recurrent microdeletions at 15q11.2, 15q13.3 and 16p13.11 confer a pleiotropic susceptibility effect to a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Absence epilepsies of childhood are heterogeneous with most cases following complex inheritance. Those cases with onset before 4 years of age represent a poorly studied subset. We screened 34 patients with early-onset absence epilepsy for mutations in SLC2A1, the gene encoding the GLUT1 glucose transporter. Mutations leading to reduced protein function were found in 12% (4/34) of patients. Two mutations arose de novo, and two were familial. These findings suggest GLUT1 deficiency underlies a significant proportion of early-onset absence epilepsy, which has both genetic counseling and treatment implications because the ketogenic diet is effective in GLUT1 deficiency.
Paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesias (PED) are involuntary intermittent movements triggered by prolonged physical exertion. Autosomal dominant inheritance may occur. Recently, mutations in the glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) gene (chr. 1p35-p31.3) have been identified as a cause in some patients with autosomal dominant PED. Mutations in this gene have previously been associated with the GLUT1 deficiency syndrome. We performed mutational analysis in 10 patients with apparently sporadic PED. We identified two novel GLUT1 mutations, at least one likely to be de-novo, in two of our patients. Onset was in early childhood. One of our patients had a predating history of childhood absence epilepsy and a current history of hemiplegic migraine as well as a family history of migraine. The other patient had no other symptoms apart from PED. Brain MRI showed cerebellar atrophy in one case. Mutations in GLUT1 are one cause of apparently sporadic PED. The detection of this has important implications for treatment as ketogenic diet has been reported to be beneficial.
Previous studies using advanced imaging techniques have suggested subtle structural and functional changes in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), mainly associated with the frontal lobes. In addition, it has been reported that these patients show neuropsychological deficits, often summarized as frontal lobe dysfunction. The aim of this study was a comprehensive analysis of neuropsychological parameters, and functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in an independent cohort of patients with JME.
Paroxysmal dyskinesias (PDs) are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by sudden attacks of involuntary movements that are mostly a combination of dystonia, chorea, athetosis, and ballism. They can sometimes be symptomatic, but usually an underlying cerebral lesion is not present. Most PDs have a genetic background and are divided into kinesigenic, nonkinesigenic, and exercise-induced forms. Recently, the first genes have been identified for paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia (MR1) and paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesia (PED) (SLC2A1). Whereas the function of the MR-1 protein and the pathophysiology are still poorly understood, mutations in SLC2A1 and their functional characterization predict a reduced transport of glucose across the blood-brain barrier as the underlying mechanism of PED. A locus on chromosome 16 has been described for the kinesigenic forms, but the underlying genetic alterations are unknown. This review summarizes clinical symptoms of the PDs, imaging findings, therapeutic options, and the pathophysiologic background.
Heterozygous mutations in the CLCN2 gene encoding the voltage-gated chloride channel CLC2 have been identified in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). Yet the involvement of CLCN2 in epilepsy remains controversial. To investigate the involvement of CLCN2 in another independent sample, we screened 52 unrelated patients from IGE families and 23 patients with Doose syndrome for mutations in CLCN2. No mutations were found in patients with Doose syndrome. In three unrelated IGE families, we identified two novel missense mutations, p.Arg235Gln and p.Arg577Gln, which were absent in large ethnically-matched control populations, and one novel p.Arg644Cys variant, which was also found in five Indian controls. Functional characterization of mutant channels using heterologous expression in mammalian cells and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings revealed faster deactivation kinetics as the major phenotype of both missense mutations. This finding predicts a loss of function that may contribute to intracellular chloride accumulation or neuronal hyperexcitability. However, the incomplete segregation of the mutations among affected members and the transmission by unaffected parents suggests that these CLCN2 mutations alone are not sufficient to induce epilepsy. They may instead represent susceptibility factors among other so far undetected genetic alterations in the respective families.
Cranial MRI has been shown to be a safe procedure in patients with a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), but body MRI may cause overheating of the stimulator lead. Here we report a case of a patient with an implanted vagus nerve stimulator who required a cervical spinal MRI due to a rapidly progressive paraparesis. The spinal MRI was performed in a 1.5T scanner without complications showing a nearly complete compression of the spinal cord.
We identified 15q13.3 microdeletions encompassing the CHRNA7 gene in 12 of 1,223 individuals with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE), which were not detected in 3,699 controls (joint P = 5.32 x 10(-8)). Most deletion carriers showed common IGE syndromes without other features previously associated with 15q13.3 microdeletions, such as intellectual disability, autism or schizophrenia. Our results indicate that 15q13.3 microdeletions constitute the most prevalent risk factor for common epilepsies identified to date.
The voltage-gated potassium channels KV7.2 and KV7.3 (KCNQ2/3 genes) play an important role in regulating neuronal excitability. More than 50 KCNQ2/3 mutations have been identified to cause an inherited form of epilepsy in newborns. For two of those (E119G and S122L) found in the S1-S2 region of KV7.2, we previously showed a decreased channel availability mainly at action potential subthreshold voltages caused by a slight depolarizing shift of the activation curve. Interestingly, recent studies revealed that a threonine residue within the S1-S2 loop, highly conserved among different classes of KV channels, is crucial for both their function and surface expression. To investigate the functional role of the homologous threonine residues in KV7.2 (T114) and KV7.3 (T144) channels, we replaced them with alanine and examined the electrophysiological properties using heterologous expression in CHO cells and whole cell patch clamping. Channels comprising mutant subunits yielded decreased potassium currents with slowed activation and accelerated deactivation kinetics. However, the most striking effect was a depolarizing shift in the voltage dependence of activation reaching +30 mV upon co-expression of both mutant subunits. Potential interactions of T114 within the channel were analyzed by creating a 3D homology model of KV7.2 in an open state suggesting that this residue plays a central role in the formation of a stable interface between the S1-S2 and the S5 segment helices. This could be the explanation why substitution of the conserved threonine in KV7.2 and KV7.3 channels destabilizes the open and favors the closed state of these channels.
Potassium (K(+)) channels are encoded by approximately 80 genes in mammals. They are expressed in many tissues and have diverse physiological roles. Human K(+) channels are divided mainly into calcium (Ca(2+))-activated (K(Ca)), inward-rectifying (K(IR)), two-pore (K(2P)), and voltage-gated (K(v)) channels. The K(v) channels form the largest family, with approximately 40 genes. Owing to their involvement in many diseases and their specific expression patterns and physiological roles, K(+) channels present an attractive target for the development of new therapies. This review summarizes the physiological and pathophysiological roles of various potassium channels with respect to their therapeutic potential for disorders with a disturbed neuronal excitability such as epilepsy, migraine, neuropathic pain, or stroke.
Genetic mutations causing dysfunction of both voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels make a major contribution to the cause of many different types of familial epilepsy. Key mechanisms comprise defective Na(+) channels of inhibitory neurons, or GABA(A) receptors affecting pre- or postsynaptic GABAergic inhibition, or a dysfunction of different types of channels at axon initial segments. Many of these ion channel mutations have been modelled in mice, which has largely contributed to the understanding of where and how the ion channel defects lead to neuronal hyperexcitability. Animal models of febrile seizures or mesial temporal epilepsy have shown that dendritic K(+) channels, hyperpolarization-activated cation channels and T-type Ca(2+) channels play important roles in the generation of seizures. For the latter, it has been shown that suppression of their function by pharmacological mechanisms or in knock-out mice can antagonize epileptogenesis. Defects of ion channel function are also associated with forms of acquired epilepsy. Autoantibodies directed against ion channels or associated proteins, such as K(+) channels, LGI1 or NMDA receptors, have been identified in epileptic disorders that can largely be included under the term limbic encephalitis which includes limbic seizures, status epilepticus and psychiatric symptoms. We conclude that ion channels and associated proteins are important players in different types of genetic and acquired epilepsies. Nevertheless, the molecular bases for most common forms of epilepsy are not yet clear, and evidence to be discussed indicates just how much more we need to understand about the complex mechanisms that underlie epileptogenesis.
In recent years, an increasing number of auto-antibodies (AB) have been detected in the CSF and serum of patients with new onset epilepsy. Some of these patients develop convulsive or nonconvulsive status epilepticus (AB-SE), necessitating intensive medical care and administration of multiple antiepileptic and immunomodulatory treatments of uncertain effectiveness.
Genetic generalized epilepsies (GGEs) have a lifetime prevalence of 0.3% and account for 20-30% of all epilepsies. Despite their high heritability of 80%, the genetic factors predisposing to GGEs remain elusive. To identify susceptibility variants shared across common GGE syndromes, we carried out a two-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) including 3020 patients with GGEs and 3954 controls of European ancestry. To dissect out syndrome-related variants, we also explored two distinct GGE subgroups comprising 1434 patients with genetic absence epilepsies (GAEs) and 1134 patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Joint Stage-1 and 2 analyses revealed genome-wide significant associations for GGEs at 2p16.1 (rs13026414, P(meta) = 2.5 × 10(-9), OR[T] = 0.81) and 17q21.32 (rs72823592, P(meta) = 9.3 × 10(-9), OR[A] = 0.77). The search for syndrome-related susceptibility alleles identified significant associations for GAEs at 2q22.3 (rs10496964, P(meta) = 9.1 × 10(-9), OR[T] = 0.68) and at 1q43 for JME (rs12059546, P(meta) = 4.1 × 10(-8), OR[G] = 1.42). Suggestive evidence for an association with GGEs was found in the region 2q24.3 (rs11890028, P(meta) = 4.0 × 10(-6)) nearby the SCN1A gene, which is currently the gene with the largest number of known epilepsy-related mutations. The associated regions harbor high-ranking candidate genes: CHRM3 at 1q43, VRK2 at 2p16.1, ZEB2 at 2q22.3, SCN1A at 2q24.3 and PNPO at 17q21.32. Further replication efforts are necessary to elucidate whether these positional candidate genes contribute to the heritability of the common GGE syndromes.
Epilepsy is a serious and common chronic neurological disease with an urgent need for novel treatment options, because 30% of all epilepsy patients do not respond to currently available drugs. Retigabine/Ezogabine (RTG) is a third-generation antiepileptic drug (AED) with a novel mechanism of action. It enhances the activity of voltage-gated K(V)7 potassium channels.
Mutations in PRRT2 have been described in paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia (PKD) and infantile convulsions with choreoathetosis (PKD with infantile seizures), and recently also in some families with benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS) alone. We analyzed PRRT2 in 49 families and three sporadic cases with BFIS only of Italian, German, Turkish, and Japanese origin and identified the previously described mutation c.649dupC in an unstable series of nine cytosines to occur in 39 of our families and one sporadic case (77% of index cases). Furthermore, three novel mutations were found in three other families, whereas 17% of our index cases did not show PRRT2 mutations, including a large family with late-onset BFIS and febrile seizures. Our study further establishes PRRT2 as the major gene for BFIS alone.
Epilepsies have a highly heterogeneous background with a strong genetic contribution. The variety of unspecific and overlapping syndromic and nonsyndromic phenotypes often hampers a clear clinical diagnosis and prevents straightforward genetic testing. Knowing the genetic basis of a patients epilepsy can be valuable not only for diagnosis but also for guiding treatment and estimating recurrence risks.
Of the newer antiepileptic drugs, lamotrigine (LTG) and levetiracetam (LEV) are popular first choice drugs for epilepsy. The authors compared these drugs with regard to their efficacy and tolerability in the initial monotherapy for epilepsy.
Genetic generalized epilepsies (GGEs) have a lifetime prevalence of 0.3% with heritability estimates of 80%. A considerable proportion of families with siblings affected by GGEs presumably display an oligogenic inheritance. The present genome-wide linkage meta-analysis aimed to map: (1) susceptibility loci shared by a broad spectrum of GGEs, and (2) seizure type-related genetic factors preferentially predisposing to either typical absence or myoclonic seizures, respectively.
Chorea-acanthocytosis is an inevitably lethal genetic disease characterized by a progressive hyperkinetic movement disorder and cognitive and behavioral abnormalities as well as acanthocytosis. The disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations of the gene encoding vacuolar protein sorting-associated protein 13A (VPS13A) or chorein, a protein with unknown function expressed in various cell types. How chorein deficiency leads to the pathophysiology of chorea-acanthocytosis remains enigmatic. Here we show decreased phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)-p85-subunit phosphorylation, ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) activity, and p21 protein-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) phosphorylation as well as depolymerized cortical actin in erythrocytes from patients with chorea-acanthocytosis and in K562-erythrocytic cells following chorein silencing. Pharmacological inhibition of PI3K, Rac1, or PAK1 similarly triggered actin depolymerization. Moreover, in K562 cells, both chorein silencing and PAK1 inhibition with IPA-3 decreased phosphorylation of Bad, a Bcl2-associated protein, promoting apoptosis by forming mitochondrial pores, followed by mitochondrial depolarization, DNA fragmentation, and phosphatidylserine exposure at the cell surface, all hallmarks of apoptosis. Our observations reveal chorein as a novel powerful regulator of cytoskeletal architecture and cell survival, thus explaining erythrocyte misshape and possibly neurodegeneration in chorea-acanthocytosis.
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