The Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA) Consortium is a collaborative network of researchers working together on a range of large-scale studies that integrate data from 70 institutions worldwide. Organized into Working Groups that tackle questions in neuroscience, genetics, and medicine, ENIGMA studies have analyzed neuroimaging data from over 12,826 subjects. In addition, data from 12,171 individuals were provided by the CHARGE consortium for replication of findings, in a total of 24,997 subjects. By meta-analyzing results from many sites, ENIGMA has detected factors that affect the brain that no individual site could detect on its own, and that require larger numbers of subjects than any individual neuroimaging study has currently collected. ENIGMA's first project was a genome-wide association study identifying common variants in the genome associated with hippocampal volume or intracranial volume. Continuing work is exploring genetic associations with subcortical volumes (ENIGMA2) and white matter microstructure (ENIGMA-DTI). Working groups also focus on understanding how schizophrenia, bipolar illness, major depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affect the brain. We review the current progress of the ENIGMA Consortium, along with challenges and unexpected discoveries made on the way.
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.
The goal of this study was to characterize cerebral cortex thickness patterns in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Surface-based morphometry (SBM) was applied to process brain magnetic resonance images acquired from 24 patients with JME and 40 healthy controls and quantify cerebral cortex thickness. Differences in cortical thickness between patients and controls were determined using generalized linear model (covariates: age and gender). In patients with JME, thickness increase was detected bilaterally within localized regions in the orbitofrontal and mesial frontal cortices. Such thickness patterns coexisted with significant bilateral reduction in thalamic volume. These findings confirm that the underlying mechanisms in JME are related to aberrant corticothalamic structure and indicate that frontal cortex abnormalities are possibly linked to regional increase in cerebral cortical thickness.
We aimed to 1) determine if subcortical volume deficits are common to mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) patients and their unaffected siblings 2) assess the suitability of subcortical volumetric traits as endophenotypes for MTLE.
Epilepsy is one of the most common, serious neurological disorders, affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The condition is typically treated using antiepileptic drugs of which there are 16 in widespread use. However, there are many different syndrome and seizure types within epilepsy and information guiding clinicians on the most effective drug and dose for individual patients is lacking. Further, all of the antiepileptic drugs have associated adverse reactions, some of which are severe and life-threatening. Here, we review the pharmacogenomic work to date in the context of these issues and comment on key aspects of study design that are required to speed up the identification of clinically relevant genetic factors.
Applying a cross-sectional design, we set out to further characterize the significance of extrahippocampal brain atrophy in a large sample of sporadic mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE+HS). By evaluating the influence of epilepsy chronicity on structural atrophy, this work represents an important step towards the characterization of MRI-based volumetric measurements as genetic endophenotypes for this condition.
Carbamazepine causes various forms of hypersensitivity reactions, ranging from maculopapular exanthema to severe blistering reactions. The HLA-B*1502 allele has been shown to be strongly correlated with carbamazepine-induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS-TEN) in the Han Chinese and other Asian populations but not in European populations.
Partial epilepsies have a substantial heritability. However, the actual genetic causes are largely unknown. In contrast to many other common diseases for which genetic association-studies have successfully revealed common variants associated with disease risk, the role of common variation in partial epilepsies has not yet been explored in a well-powered study. We undertook a genome-wide association-study to identify common variants which influence risk for epilepsy shared amongst partial epilepsy syndromes, in 3445 patients and 6935 controls of European ancestry. We did not identify any genome-wide significant association. A few single nucleotide polymorphisms may warrant further investigation. We exclude common genetic variants with effect sizes above a modest 1.3 odds ratio for a single variant as contributors to genetic susceptibility shared across the partial epilepsies. We show that, at best, common genetic variation can only have a modest role in predisposition to the partial epilepsies when considered across syndromes in Europeans. The genetic architecture of the partial epilepsies is likely to be very complex, reflecting genotypic and phenotypic heterogeneity. Larger meta-analyses are required to identify variants of smaller effect sizes (odds ratio<1.3) or syndrome-specific variants. Further, our results suggest research efforts should also be directed towards identifying the multiple rare variants likely to account for at least part of the heritability of the partial epilepsies. Data emerging from genome-wide association-studies will be valuable during the next serious challenge of interpreting all the genetic variation emerging from whole-genome sequencing studies.
Investigating the heritability of brain structure may be useful in simplifying complicated genetic studies in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). A preliminary study is presented to determine if volume deficits of candidate brain structures present at a higher rate in unaffected siblings than controls subjects.
To date, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based studies of the cerebral cortex in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) have focused primarily on investigating cortical volume and thickness. However, volume is a composite of surface area and thickness, each reflecting distinct neurobiologic and genetic processes. The goal of this study was to investigate cerebral cortex (1) surface area, (2) surface geometric distortion, and (3) thickness in MTLE with hippocampal sclerosis (HS).
Identifying genetic variants influencing human brain structures may reveal new biological mechanisms underlying cognition and neuropsychiatric illness. The volume of the hippocampus is a biomarker of incipient Alzheimers disease and is reduced in schizophrenia, major depression and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Whereas many brain imaging phenotypes are highly heritable, identifying and replicating genetic influences has been difficult, as small effects and the high costs of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have led to underpowered studies. Here we report genome-wide association meta-analyses and replication for mean bilateral hippocampal, total brain and intracranial volumes from a large multinational consortium. The intergenic variant rs7294919 was associated with hippocampal volume (12q24.22; N = 21,151; P = 6.70 × 10(-16)) and the expression levels of the positional candidate gene TESC in brain tissue. Additionally, rs10784502, located within HMGA2, was associated with intracranial volume (12q14.3; N = 15,782; P = 1.12 × 10(-12)). We also identified a suggestive association with total brain volume at rs10494373 within DDR2 (1q23.3; N = 6,500; P = 5.81 × 10(-7)).
Atypical morphology of the surface of the cerebral cortex may be related to abnormal cortical folding (gyrification) and therefore may indicate underlying malformations of cortical development (MCDs). Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based analysis, we examined cortical morphology in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME).
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