Voltage-sensitive dye imaging (VSDI) can simultaneously monitor the spatiotemporal electrical dynamics of thousands of neurons and is often used to identify functional differences in models of neurological disease. While the chief advantage of VSDI is the ability to record spatiotemporal activity, there are no tools available to visualize and statistically compare activity across the full spatiotemporal range of the VSDI dataset. Investigators commonly analyze only a subset of the data, and a majority of the dataset is routinely excluded from analysis. We have developed a software toolbox that simplifies visual inspection of VSDI data, and permits unaided statistical comparison across spatial and temporal dimensions. First, the three-dimensional VSDI dataset (x,y,time) is geometrically transformed into a two-dimensional spatiotemporal map of activity. Second, statistical comparison between groups is performed using a non-parametric permutation test. The result is a 2D map of all significant differences in both space and time. Here, we used the toolbox to identify functional differences in activity in VSDI data from acute hippocampal slices obtained from epileptic Arx conditional knock-out and control mice. Maps of spatiotemporal activity were produced and analyzed to identify differences in the activity evoked by stimulation of each of two axonal inputs to the hippocampus: the perforant pathway and the temporoammonic pathway. In mutant hippocampal slices, the toolbox identified a widespread decrease in spatiotemporal activity evoked by the temporoammonic pathway. No significant differences were observed in the activity evoked by the perforant pathway. The VSDI toolbox permitted us to visualize and statistically compare activity across the spatiotemporal scope of the VSDI dataset. Sampling error was minimized because the representation of the data is standardized by the toolbox. Statistical comparisons were conducted quickly, across the spatiotemporal scope of the data, without a priori knowledge of the character of the responses or the likely differences between them.
Mutations in CDKL5 and ARX are known causes of early-onset epilepsy and severe developmental delay in males and females. While numerous males with ARX mutations associated with various phenotypes have been reported in the literature, the majority of CDKL5 mutations have been identified in females with a phenotype characterized by early-onset epilepsy, severe global developmental delay, absent speech, and stereotypic hand movements. To date, only ten males with CDKL5 mutations have been reported. Our retrospective study reports on the clinical, neuroimaging and molecular findings of 18 males with early-onset epilepsy caused by either CDKL5 or ARX mutations. The 18 patients include eight new males with CDKL5 mutations and ten with ARX mutations identified through sequence analysis of 266 and 346 males, respectively, at our molecular diagnostic laboratory. Our large data set therefore expands on the number of reported males with CDKL5 mutations and highlights that aberrations of CDKL5 and ARX combined are an important consideration in the genetic forms of early-onset epilepsy.
MEF2C haploinsufficiency syndrome is an emerging neurodevelopmental disorder associated with intellectual disability, autistic features, epilepsy, and abnormal movements. We report 16 new patients with MEF2C haploinsufficiency, including the oldest reported patient with MEF2C deletion at 5q14.3. We detail the neurobehavioral phenotype, epilepsy, and abnormal movements, and compare our subjects with those previously reported in the literature. We also investigate Mef2c expression in the developing mouse forebrain. A spectrum of neurofunctional deficits emerges, with hyperkinesis a consistent finding. Epilepsy varied from absent to severe, and included intractable myoclonic seizures and infantile spasms. Subjects with partial MEF2C deletion were statistically less likely to have epilepsy. Finally, we confirm that Mef2c is present both in dorsal primary neuroblasts and ventral gamma-aminobutyric acid(GABA)ergic interneurons in the forebrain of the developing mouse. Given interactions with several key neurodevelopmental genes such as ARX, FMR1, MECP2, and TBR1, it appears that MEF2C plays a role in several developmental stages of both dorsal and ventral neuronal cell types.
MEF2C haploinsufficiency; Intellectual disability; Autism; Infant-onset myoclonic epilepsy; Infantile spasms; Hyperkinesis; Deletion 5q14.3
Genetics and environment likely contribute to the development of medically intractable epilepsy, however, in most patients the specific combination of etiologies remains unknown. Here we undertook a multicenter retrospective cohort study of sex distribution in pediatric patients undergoing epilepsy surgery, and carried out a secondary analysis of the same population subdivided by histopathologic diagnosis. In the multicenter cohort of intractable epilepsy patients undergoing surgery regardless of etiology (n=206), 63% were boys, which is significantly more boys than expected for the general population (Fisher exact two-tailed p=0.017). Subgroup analysis found that of the 90 patients with a histopathologic diagnosis of focal cortical dysplasia, 72% were boys, giving an odds ratio (OR) of 2.5 (95% CI, 1.34 to 4.62) for male sex. None of the other etiologies had a male sex predominance. Future studies could examine the biological relevance and potential genetic and pathophysiological mechanisms of this observation.
focal cortical dysplasia; pediatric epilepsy; epilepsy surgery; gender; sex
Early-onset epileptic encephalopathies have been associated with de novo mutations of numerous ion channel genes. We employed techniques of modern translational medicine to identify a disease-causing mutation, analyze its altered behavior, and screen for therapeutic compounds to treat the proband.
Three modern translational medicine tools were utilized: (1) high-throughput sequencing technology to identify a novel de novo mutation; (2) in vitro expression and electrophysiology assays to confirm the variant protein's dysfunction; and (3) screening of existing drug libraries to identify potential therapeutic compounds.
A de novo GRIN2A missense mutation (c.2434C>A; p.L812M) increased the charge transfer mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAs) containing the mutant GluN2A-L812M subunit. In vitro analysis with NMDA receptor blockers indicated that GLuN2A-L812M-containing NMDARs retained their sensitivity to the use-dependent channel blocker memantine; while screening of a previously reported GRIN2A mutation (N615K) with these compounds produced contrasting results. Consistent with these data, adjunct memantine therapy reduced our proband's seizure burden.
This case exemplifies the potential for personalized genomics and therapeutics to be utilized for the early diagnosis and treatment of infantile-onset neurological disease.
Identify seizure onset electrodes that need to be resected for seizure freedom in children undergoing intracranial electroencephalography recording for treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. All children undergoing intracranial electroencephalography subdural grid electrode placement at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 2002-2008 were asked to enroll. We utilized intraoperative pictures to determine the location of the electrodes and define the resection cavity. A total of 15 patients had surgical fields that allowed for complete identification of the electrodes over the area of resection. Eight of 15 patients were seizure free after a follow up of 1.7 to 8 yr. Only one seizure-free patient had complete resection of all seizure onset associated tissue. Seizure free patients had resection of 64.1% of the seizure onset electrode associated tissue, compared to 35.2% in the not seizure free patients (p=0.05). Resection of tissue associated with infrequent seizure onsets did not appear to be important for seizure freedom. Resecting ≥ 90% of the electrodes from the predominant seizure contacts predicted post-operative seizure freedom (p=0.007). The best predictor of seizure freedom was resecting ≥ 90% of tissue involved in majority of a patient’s seizures. Resection of tissue under infrequent seizure onset electrodes was not necessary for seizure freedom.
Epilepsy; epilepsy surgery; cortical dysplasia; neocortical epilepsy; intracranial electroencephalography
Background: Whole exome sequencing (WES) offers a powerful diagnostic tool to rapidly and efficiently sequence all coding genes in individuals presenting for consideration of phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous disorders such as suspected mitochondrial disease. Here, we report results of WES and functional validation in a consanguineous Indian kindred where two siblings presented with profound developmental delay, congenital hypotonia, refractory epilepsy, abnormal myelination, fluctuating basal ganglia changes, cerebral atrophy, and reduced N-acetylaspartate (NAA).
Methods: Whole blood DNA from one affected and one unaffected sibling was captured by Agilent SureSelect Human All Exon kit and sequenced on the Illumina HiSeq2000. Mutations were validated by Sanger sequencing in all family members. Protein from wild-type and mutant fibroblasts was isolated to assess mutation effects on protein expression and enzyme activity.
Results: A novel SLC25A12 homozygous missense mutation, c.1058G>A; p.Arg353Gln, segregated with disease in this kindred. SLC25A12 encodes the neuronal aspartate-glutamate carrier 1 (AGC1) protein, an essential component of the neuronal malate/aspartate shuttle that transfers NADH and H+ reducing equivalents from the cytosol to mitochondria. AGC1 activity enables neuronal export of aspartate, the glial substrate necessary for proper neuronal myelination. Recombinant mutant p.Arg353Gln AGC1 activity was reduced to 15% of wild type. One prior reported SLC25A12 mutation caused complete loss of AGC1 activity in a child with epilepsy, hypotonia, hypomyelination, and reduced brain NAA.
Conclusions: These data strongly suggest that SLC25A12 disease impairs neuronal AGC1 activity. SLC25A12 sequencing should be considered in children with infantile epilepsy, congenital hypotonia, global delay, abnormal myelination, and reduced brain NAA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this chapter (doi:10.1007/8904_2013_287) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) is associated with neurological deficits including cerebral palsy and cognitive and behavioral disabilities. The pathogenesis involves oxidative stress that leads to periventricular white matter injury with a paucity of mature oligodendrocytes and hypomyelination. The molecular mechanisms underlying this damage remain poorly understood. We employed a rat model of IUGR created by bilateral ligation of the uterine artery at embryonic day 19 that results in fetal growth retardation and oxidative stress in the developing brain. The IUGR rat pups showed significant delays in oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination that resolved by 8 weeks. Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), which inhibits oligodendrocyte maturation, was elevated in IUGR brains at postnatal time points and returned to near normal by adulthood. Despite the apparent recovery, behavioral deficiencies were found in 8-week-old female animals, suggesting that the early transient myelination defects have permanent effects. In support of these in vivo data, oligodendrocyte precursor cells cultured from postnatal IUGR rats retained increased BMP4 expression and impaired differentiation that was reversed with the BMP inhibitor noggin. Oxidants in oligodendrocyte cultures increased BMP expression, which decreased differentiation; however, abrogating BMP signaling with noggin in vitro and in BMP-deficient mice prevented these effects. Together, these findings suggest that IUGR results in delayed myelination through the generation of oxidative stress that leads to BMP4 upregulation.
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP); Intrauterine growth retardation; Myelin; Oligodendrocytes; Oxidative stress; Periventricular white matter injury
Localizing an epileptic network is essential for guiding neurosurgery and antiepileptic medical devices as well as elucidating mechanisms that may explain seizure-generation and epilepsy. There is increasing evidence that pathological oscillations may be specific to diseased networks in patients with epilepsy and that these oscillations may be a key biomarker for generating and indentifying epileptic networks. We present a semi-automated method that detects, maps, and mines pathological gamma (30–100 Hz) oscillations (PGOs) in human epileptic brain to possibly localize epileptic networks. We apply the method to standard clinical iEEG (<100 Hz) with interictal PGOs and seizures from six patients with medically refractory epilepsy. We demonstrate that electrodes with consistent PGO discharges do not always coincide with clinically determined seizure onset zone (SOZ) electrodes but at times PGO-dense electrodes include secondary seizure-areas (SS) or even areas without seizures (NS). In 4/5 patients with epilepsy surgery, we observe poor (Engel Class 4) post-surgical outcomes and identify more PGO-activity in SS or NS than in SOZ. Additional studies are needed to further clarify the role of PGOs in epileptic brain.
Epileptic network; Interictal epileptic discharge; Pathological gamma oscillation; Detection; Mapping; Data-mining
Infantile spasms (ISS) are an epilepsy disorder frequently associated with severe developmental outcome and have diverse genetic etiologies. We ascertained 11 subjects with ISS and novel copy number variants (CNVs) and combined these with a new cohort with deletion 1p36 and ISS, and additional published patients with ISS and other chromosomal abnormalities. Using bioinformatics tools, we analyzed the gene content of these CNVs for enrichment in pathways of pathogenesis. Several important findings emerged. First, the gene content was enriched for the gene regulatory network involved in ventral forebrain development. Second, genes in pathways of synaptic function were overrepresented, significantly those involved in synaptic vesicle transport. Evidence also suggested roles for GABAergic synapses and the postsynaptic density. Third, we confirm the association of ISS with duplication of 14q12 and maternally inherited duplication of 15q11q13, and report the association with duplication of 21q21. We also present a patient with ISS and deletion 7q11.3 not involving MAGI2. Finally, we provide evidence that ISS in deletion 1p36 may be associated with deletion of KLHL17 and expand the epilepsy phenotype in that syndrome to include early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. Several of the identified pathways share functional links, and abnormalities of forebrain synaptic growth and function may form a common biologic mechanism underlying both ISS and autism. This study demonstrates a novel approach to the study of gene content in subjects with ISS and copy number variation, and contributes further evidence to support specific pathways of pathogenesis.
infantile spasms; autism; bioinformatics; copy number variation; deletion 1p36 syndrome
Transient high-frequency (100–500 Hz) oscillations of the local field potential have been studied extensively in human mesial temporal lobe. Previous studies report that both ripple (100–250 Hz) and fast ripple (250–500 Hz) oscillations are increased in the seizure-onset zone of patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Comparatively little is known, however, about their spatial distribution with respect to seizure-onset zone in neocortical epilepsy, or their prevalence in normal brain. We present a quantitative analysis of high-frequency oscillations and their rates of occurrence in a group of nine patients with neocortical epilepsy and two control patients with no history of seizures. Oscillations were automatically detected and classified using an unsupervised approach in a data set of unprecedented volume in epilepsy research, over 12 terabytes of continuous long-term micro- and macro-electrode intracranial recordings, without human preprocessing, enabling selection-bias-free estimates of oscillation rates. There are three main results: (i) a cluster of ripple frequency oscillations with median spectral centroid = 137 Hz is increased in the seizure-onset zone more frequently than a cluster of fast ripple frequency oscillations (median spectral centroid = 305 Hz); (ii) we found no difference in the rates of high frequency oscillations in control neocortex and the non-seizure-onset zone neocortex of patients with epilepsy, despite the possibility of different underlying mechanisms of generation; and (iii) while previous studies have demonstrated that oscillations recorded by parenchyma-penetrating micro-electrodes have higher peak 100–500 Hz frequencies than penetrating macro-electrodes, this was not found for the epipial electrodes used here to record from the neocortical surface. We conclude that the relative rate of ripple frequency oscillations is a potential biomarker for epileptic neocortex, but that larger prospective studies correlating high-frequency oscillations rates with seizure-onset zone, resected tissue and surgical outcome are required to determine the true predictive value.
high-frequency oscillations; epilepsy; intracranial EEG
Correct outcome prediction after cardiac arrest in children may improve clinical decision making and family counseling. Various investigators have used EEG to predict outcome with varying success, but one limiting issue is the potential lack of reproducibility of EEG interpretation. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate interobserver agreement using standardized terminology in the interpretation of EEG tracings obtained from critically ill children following cardiac arrest.
3 pediatric neurophysiologists scored 74 EEG samples using standardized categories, terminology, and interpretation rules. Interobserver agreement was evaluated using kappa and intra-class correlation coefficients.
Agreement was substantial for the categories of continuity, burst suppression, sleep architecture, and overall rating. Agreement was moderate for seizure occurrence and inter-ictal epileptiform discharge type. Agreement was fair for inter-ictal epileptiform discharge presence, beta activity, predominant frequency, and fastest frequency. Agreement was slight for maximum voltage and focal slowing presence.
The variability of inter-rater agreement suggests that some EEG features are superior to others for use in a predictive algorithm. Using only reproducible EEG features is needed to ensure the most accurate and consistent predictions. Since even seizure identification had only moderate agreement, studies of non-convulsive seizures in critically ill patients must be conducted and interpreted cautiously.
Electroencephalogram; Interobserver variability; Seizure; Pediatric; Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy; Cardiac Arrest
The role of sharps and spikes, interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs), in guiding epilepsy surgery in children remains controversial, particularly with intracranial EEG (IEEG). While ictal recording is the mainstay of localizing epileptic networks for surgical resection, current practice dictates removing regions generating frequent IEDs if they are near the ictal onset zone. Indeed, past studies suggest an inconsistent relationship between IED and seizure onset location, though these studies were based upon relatively short EEG epochs.
We employ a previously validated, computerized spike detector, to measure and localize IED activity over prolonged, representative segments of IEEG recorded from 19 children with intractable, mostly extra temporal lobe epilepsy. Approximately 8 hours of IEEG, randomly selected thirty-minute segments of continuous interictal IEEG per patient were analyzed over all intracranial electrode contacts.
When spike frequency was averaged over the 16-time segments, electrodes with the highest mean spike frequency were found to be within the seizure onset region in 11 of 19 patients. There was significant variability between individual 30-minute segments in these patients, indicating that large statistical samples of interictal activity were required for improved localization. Low voltage fast EEG at seizure onset was the only clinical factor predicting IED localization to the seizure onset region.
Our data suggest that automated IED detection over multiple representative samples of IEEG may be of utility in planning epilepsy surgery for children with intractable epilepsy. Further research is required to better determine which patients may benefit from this technique a priori.
Spike density; intracranial EEG; Seizure onset; Pediatric Epilepsy
Mutations in the X-linked aristaless-related homeobox gene (ARX) have been linked to structural brain anomalies as well as multiple neurocognitive deficits. The generation of Arx-deficient mice revealed several morphological anomalies, resembling those observed in patients and an interneuron migration defect but perinatal lethality precluded analyses of later phenotypes. Interestingly, many of the neurological phenotypes observed in patients with various ARX mutations can be attributed, in part, to interneuron dysfunction. To directly test this possibility, mice carrying a floxed Arx allele were generated and crossed to Dlx5/6CRE-IRES-GFP(Dlx5/6CIG) mice, conditionally deleting Arx from ganglionic eminence derived neurons including cortical interneurons. We now report that Arx−/y;Dlx5/6CIG (male) mice exhibit a variety of seizure types beginning in early-life, including seizures that behaviourally and electroencephalographically resembles infantile spasms, and show evolution through development. Thus, this represents a new genetic model of a malignant form of paediatric epilepsy, with some characteristics resembling infantile spasms, caused by mutations in a known infantile spasms gene. Unexpectedly, approximately half of the female mice carrying a single mutant Arx allele (Arx−/+;Dlx5/6CIG) also developed seizures. We also found that a subset of human female carriers have seizures and neurocognitive deficits. In summary, we have identified a previously unrecognized patient population with neurological deficits attributed to ARX mutations that are recapitulated in our mouse model. Furthermore, we show that perturbation of interneuron subpopulations is an important mechanism underling the pathogenesis of developmental epilepsy in both hemizygous males and carrier females. Given the frequency of ARX mutations in patients with infantile spasms and related disorders, our data unveil a new model for further understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders.
Epilepsy; development; conditional knockout; genetic model; interneurons
Mutations in the aristaless-related homeobox (ARX) gene are associated with multiple neurologic disorders in humans. Studies in mice indicate Arx plays a role in neuronal progenitor proliferation and development of the cerebral cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, striatum, and olfactory bulbs. Specific defects associated with Arx loss of function include abnormal interneuron migration and subtype differentiation. How disruptions in ARX result in human disease and how loss of Arx in mice results in these phenotypes remains poorly understood. To gain insight into the biological functions of Arx, we performed a genome-wide expression screen to identify transcriptional changes within the subpallium in the absence of Arx. We have identified 84 genes whose expression was dysregulated in the absence of Arx. This population was enriched in genes involved in cell migration, axonal guidance, neurogenesis, and regulation of transcription and includes genes implicated in autism, epilepsy, and mental retardation; all features recognized in patients with ARX mutations. Additionally, we found Arx directly repressed three of the identified transcription factors: Lmo1, Ebf3 and Shox2. To further understand how the identified genes are involved in neural development, we used gene set enrichment algorithms to compare the Arx gene regulatory network (GRN) to the Dlx1/2 GRN and interneuron transcriptome. These analyses identified a subset of genes in the Arx GRN that are shared with that of the Dlx1/2 GRN and that are enriched in the interneuron transcriptome. These data indicate Arx plays multiple roles in forebrain development, both dependent and independent of Dlx1/2, and thus provides further insights into the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the pathology of mental retardation and epilepsy phenotypes resulting from ARX mutations.
Recent studies indicate that pathologic high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) are signatures of epileptogenic brain. Automated tools are required to characterize these events. We present a new algorithm tuned to detect HFOs from 30 – 85 Hz, and validate it against human expert electroencephalographers.
We randomly selected 28 3-minute single-channel epochs of intracranial EEG (IEEG) from two patients. Three human reviewers and three automated detectors marked all records to identify candidate HFOs. Subsequently, human reviewers verified all markings.
A total of 1,330 events were collectively identified. The new method presented here achieved 89.7% accuracy against a consensus set of human expert markings. A one-way ANOVA determined no difference between the mean F-measures of the human reviewers and automated algorithm. Human Kappa statistics (mean κ = 0.38) demonstrated marginal identification consistency, primarily due to false negative errors.
We present an HFO detector that improves upon existing algorithms, and performs as well as human experts on our test data set. Validation of detector performance must be compared to more than one expert because of interrater variability.
This algorithm will be useful for analyzing large EEG databases to determine the pathophysiological significance of HFO events in human epileptic networks.
high-frequency oscillation; HFO; intracranial EEG; epilepsy