Schizencephaly is a rare malformation of cortical development characterized by congenital clefts extending from the pial surface to the lateral ventricle that are lined by heterotopic gray matter. The clinical presentation is variable and can include motor or cognitive impairment and epilepsy. The causes of schizencephaly are heterogeneous and can include teratogens, prenatal infection, or maternal trauma. Reported genetic causes include chromosomal aneuploidy, EMX2 mutations, and possible autosomal recessive familial cases based on recurrence in siblings. In an effort to identify risk factors for schizencephaly, we conducted a survey of 48 parents or primary caretakers of patients with schizencephaly born between 1983 and 2004. We discovered that young maternal age, lack of prenatal care, and alcohol use were all significantly associated with risk of schizencephaly. Our results suggest that there are important nongenetic, intrauterine events that predispose to schizencephaly.
schizencephaly; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); cortical dysplasia; genetics; prenatal care
To determine the relationship between radiologically identifiable brain injuries and delayed brain development as reflected by brain metabolic and microstructural integrity.
Term newborns with congenital heart disease (CHD) (120 preoperatively and 104 postoperatively) were studied with MRI to determine brain injury severity (BIS), microstructure reflected by fractional anisotropy (FA) and average diffusivity (Dav), and metabolism reflected by N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/choline (Cho) and lactate/Cho. Brain development is characterized by increasing NAA/Cho and white matter FA, and by decreasing Dav and lactate/Cho.
Newly acquired brain injury was common (41% preoperative, 30% postoperative). Lower white matter FA (p = 0.005) and lower NAA/Cho (p = 0.01) were associated with increasing preoperative BIS. Higher neonatal illness severity scores (p = 0.03), lower preoperative oxygen saturation (p = 0.002), hypotension (p < 0.001), and septostomy (p = 0.002) were also predictive of higher preoperative BIS. Preoperative FA, Dav, and NAA/Cho did not predict new postoperative BIS. Increasing preoperative BIS predicted higher postoperative Dav (p = 0.002) and lactate/Cho (p = 0.008). Within the postoperative scan, new brain injuries were associated with lower white matter FA (p = 0.04). Postoperative BIS (new lesions) was associated with lower postoperative systolic (p = 0.03) and mean (p = 0.05) blood pressures.
Brain injuries in newborns with CHD are strongly related to abnormalities of brain microstructural and metabolic brain development, especially preoperatively. Both newly acquired preoperative and postoperative brain injuries are related to potentially modifiable clinical risk factors.
Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) is a rare leukodystrophy caused by mutation of the proteolipid protein 1 gene. Defective oligodendrocytes in PMD fail to myelinate axons, causing global neurological dysfunction. Human central nervous system stem cells (HuCNS-SCs) can develop into oligodendrocytes and confer structurally normal myelin when transplanted into a hypomyelinating mouse model. A 1-year open-label phase 1 study was undertaken to evaluate safety and to detect evidence of myelin formation after HuCNS-SC transplantation. Allogeneic HuCNS-SCs were surgically implanted into the frontal lobe white matter in four male subjects with an early-onset severe form of PMD. Immunosuppression was administered for 9 months. Serial neurological evaluations, developmental assessments, and cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MR spectroscopy, including high-angular resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), were performed at baseline and after transplantation. The neurosurgical procedure, immunosuppression regimen, and HuCNS-SC transplantation were well tolerated. Modest gains in neurological function were observed in three of the four subjects. No clinical or radiological adverse effects were directly attributed to the donor cells. Reduced T1 and T2 relaxation times were observed in the regions of transplantation 9 months after the procedure in the three subjects. Normalized DTI showed increasing fractional anisotropy and reduced radial diffusivity, consistent with myelination, in the region of transplantation compared to control white matter regions remote to the transplant sites. These phase 1 findings indicate a favorable safety profile for HuCNS-SCs in subjects with PMD. The MRI results suggest durable cell engraftment and donor-derived myelin in the transplanted host white matter.
Diffusion imaging has made significant inroads into the clinical
diagnosis of a variety of diseases by inferring changes in microstructure,
namely cell membranes, myelin sheath and other structures that inhibit water
diffusion. This review discusses recent progress in the use of diffusion
parameters in predicting functional outcome. Studies in the literature using
only scalar parameters from diffusion measurements, such as apparent diffusion
coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA), are summarized. Other more
complex mathematical models and post-processing uses are also discussed
The 22q13.3 deletion causes a neurodevelopmental syndrome, also known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome (MIM #606232), characterized by developmental delay and severe delay or absence of expressive speech. Two patients with hemizygous chromosome 22q13.3 telomeric deletion were referred to us when brain-imaging studies revealed cerebellar vermis hypoplasia (CBVH). To determine whether developmental abnormalities of the cerebellum are a consistent feature of the 22q13.3 deletion syndrome, we examined brain-imaging studies for 10 unrelated subjects with 22q13 terminal deletion. In 7 cases where the availability of DNA and array technology allowed, we mapped deletion boundaries using comparative intensity analysis with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays. Approximate deletion boundaries for 3 additional cases were derived from clinical or published molecular data. We also examined brain-imaging studies for a patient with an intragenic SHANK3 mutation. We report the first brain-imaging data showing that some patients with 22q13 deletions have severe posterior CBVH, and one individual with a SHANK3 mutation has a normal cerebellum. This genotype-phenotype study suggests that the 22q13 deletion phenotype includes abnormal posterior fossa structures that are unlikely to be attributed to SHANK3 disruption. Other genes in the region, including PLXNB2 and MAPK8IP2, display brain expression patterns and mouse mutant phenotypes critical for proper cerebellar development. Future studies of these genes may elucidate their relationship to 22q13.3 deletion phenotypes.
cerebellum; chromosome; deletion; SHANK3
Neonatal encephalopathy represents a heterogeneous group of conditions associated with life-long developmental disabilities and neurological deficits. Clinical measures and current anatomic brain imaging remain inadequate predictors of outcome in children with neonatal encephalopathy. Some studies have suggested that brain development and, therefore, brain connectivity may be altered in the subgroup of patients who subsequently go on to develop clinically significant neurological abnormalities. Large-scale structural brain connectivity networks constructed using diffusion tractography have been posited to reflect organizational differences in white matter architecture at the mesoscale, and thus offer a unique tool for characterizing brain development in patients with neonatal encephalopathy. In this manuscript we use diffusion tractography to construct structural networks for a cohort of patients with neonatal encephalopathy. We systematically map these networks to a high-dimensional space and then apply standard machine learning algorithms to predict neurological outcome in the cohort. Using nested cross-validation we demonstrate high prediction accuracy that is both statistically significant and robust over a broad range of thresholds. Our algorithm offers a novel tool to evaluate neonates at risk for developing neurological deficit. The described approach can be applied to any brain pathology that affects structural connectivity.
Background and Purpose
Primary microcephalies are incompletely understood malformations that are often associated with developmental brain anomalies, yet it is not understood if the associated anomalies result from the microcephaly itself or from associated developmental/genetic mishaps. This study reviewed and analyzed a large number of MRI scans of children with microcephaly to determine the frequency of associated morphological findings and to assess whether these findings were associated with the severity of the microcephaly.
Materials and Methods
MRIs of 119 patients with clinically diagnosed microcephaly were retrospectively reviewed, focusing on the degree of microcephaly, simplification of gyri, white matter volume, abnormalities of corpus callosum, size and structure of posterior fossa contents, and myelination. Associations among the findings were evaluated using the Spearman correlation coefficient and the Fisher exact test.
Among 7 patients with mild, 42 with moderate, and 70 with extreme microcephaly, a significant correlation was identified between a greater degree of microcephaly and both a greater degree of simplified gyration and decreased white matter volume. The severity of callosal anomaly showed a lower, but still significant, correlation with the severity of microcephaly. Degree of hypoplasia of posterior fossa structures, delay in myelination, and abnormality of basal ganglia did not correlate with the degree of microcephaly.
A strong correlation was found between the degree of microcephaly, the volume of white matter, and the presence of a simplified gyral pattern. These associations should be considered when attempting to use neuroimaging for segregation and classification of patients with microcephaly.
Polymicrogyria; cerebral cortex; magnetic resonance imaging; brain malformation
Tensor based morphometry (TBM) is a powerful approach to analyze local structural changes in brain anatomy. However, conventional scalar TBM methods do not completely capture all direction specific volume changes required to model complex changes such as those during brain growth. In this paper, we describe novel TBM descriptors for studying direction-specific changes in a subject population which can be used in conjunction with scalar TBM to analyze local patterns in directionality of volume change during brain development. We also extend the methodology to provide a new approach to mapping directional asymmetry in deformation tensors associated with the emergence of structural asymmetry in the developing brain. We illustrate the use of these methods by studying developmental patterns in the human fetal brain, in vivo. Results show that fetal brain development exhibits a distinct spatial pattern of anisotropic growth. The most significant changes in the directionality of growth occurs in the cortical plate at major sulci. Our analysis also detected directional growth asymmetry in the peri-sylvian region and the medial frontal lobe of the fetal brain.
Structural MRI; Fetal imaging; tensor based morphometry; directional growth modeling; brain development
Background and purpose
Changes of the major forebrain commissures in lissencephaly have not been systematically studied. This study investigated the developmental differences of the commissures in patients with varying types of lissencephaly to determine whether specific commissural features may help in distinguishing among lissencephaly phenotypes.
Materials and methods
MRI of 124 patients were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were classified as classic(cLIS), variant(vLIS) and Cobblestone lissencephaly(CBSC) according to cortical phenotype; few patients had genetic diagnoses. Abnormalities of the corpus callosum, anterior (AC), and hippocampal commissures (HC) were recorded, and the overall shape was regarded as hypogenetic, hypoplastic, dysmorphic, angled splenium and convex corpus compared with ge matched controls. Correlations between commissural characteristics and cortical patterns were analyzed using Monte Carlo simulation of chi-square, ‘extention to mxn table’, and Fisher’s exact tests as appropriate (p<0.05).
Patients were classified as cLIS (57.4%), vLIS (38.4%) or CBSC (4.2%). The most common callosal developmental anomaly was hypogenesis with absent rostrum, small inferior genu and small splenium. An angled (90°) splenium was found to be significantly associated with cLIS; and excessively convex corpus callosum with VLDLR mutations. ACC with enlarged anterior commissure was found in all ARX mutations.
Specific patterns of the commissure anomalies were associated with certain types of lissencephaly. Callosal anomalies were more common than those of AC or HC. Developmental differences of commissures may be useful as an imaging criterion in differentiating the groups of lissencephalies and may give insight into the processes causing these malformations.
Agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) are severe congenital brain malformations with largely undiscovered causes. We conducted a large-scale chromosomal copy number variation (CNV) discovery effort in 255 ACC, 220 CBLH, and 147 PMG patients, and 2,349 controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC, but unexpectedly not CBLH or PMG patients, had rare genic CNVs over one megabase (p = 1.48×10−3; odds ratio [OR] = 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.89–5.39). Rare genic CNVs were those that impacted at least one gene in less than 1% of the combined population of patients and controls. Compared to controls, significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients had rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes (p = 0.01; OR = 2.95; 95% CI = 1.69–5.18). Independent qPCR confirmation showed that 9.4% of ACC patients had de novo CNVs. These, in comparison to inherited CNVs, preferentially overlapped de novo CNVs previously observed in patients with autism spectrum disorders (p = 3.06×10−4; OR = 7.55; 95% CI = 2.40–23.72). Interestingly, numerous reports have shown a reduced corpus callosum area in autistic patients, and diminished social and executive function in many ACC patients. We also confirmed and refined previously known CNVs, including significantly narrowing the 8p23.1-p11.1 duplication present in 2% of our current ACC cohort. We found six novel CNVs, each in a single patient, that are likely deleterious: deletions of 1p31.3-p31.1, 1q31.2-q31.3, 5q23.1, and 15q11.2-q13.1; and duplications of 2q11.2-q13 and 11p14.3-p14.2. One ACC patient with microcephaly had a paternally inherited deletion of 16p13.11 that included NDE1. Exome sequencing identified a recessive maternally inherited nonsense mutation in the non-deleted allele of NDE1, revealing the complexity of ACC genetics. This is the first systematic study of CNVs in congenital brain malformations, and shows a much higher prevalence of large gene-rich CNVs in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
Here, we systematically test the genetic etiology of three common developmental brain malformations: agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), cerebellar hypoplasia (CBLH), and polymicrogyria (PMG) by copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a large cohort of brain malformation patients and controls. We found significantly more ACC but not CBLH or PMG patients with rare genic CNVs over one megabase and with rare CNVs impacting over 20 genes when compared with controls. De novo CNVs were found in 9.4% of ACC patients, and interestingly many such CNVs overlapped with de novo CNVs observed in autism. Notably, numerous studies have demonstrated a reduction in the corpus callosum area in autistic brains. Our analysis also refined previously known large CNVs that cause these malformations, and identified six novel CNVs that are likely deleterious. One ACC patient had inherited a deletion from the father which, through exome sequencing, was found to uncover a recessive nonsense mutation in NDE1 on the non-deleted allele inherited from the mother. Our study is the first to systematically evaluate the burden of rare genic CNVs in congenital brain malformations and shows that large gene-rich CNVs are more common in ACC than in CBLH and PMG.
To describe a homogeneous subtype of periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) as part of a newly defined malformation complex.
Observational study including review of brain MRI and clinical findings of a cohort of 50 patients with PNH in the temporo-occipital horns and trigones, mutation analysis of the FLNA gene, and anatomopathologic study of a fetal brain.
There were 28 females and 22 males. All were sporadic with the exception of an affected mother and son. Epilepsy occurred in 62%, cerebellar signs in 56%, cognitive impairment in 56%, and autism in 12%. Seventy percent were referred within the 3rd year of life. Imaging revealed a normal cerebral cortex in 76% and abnormal cortical folding in 24%. In all patients the hippocampi were under-rotated and in 10% they merged with the heterotopia. Cerebellar dysgenesis was observed in 84% and a hypoplastic corpus callosum in 60%. There was no gender bias or uneven gender distribution of clinical and anatomic severity. No mutations of FLNA occurred in 33 individuals examined. Heterotopia in the fetal brain revealed cytoarchitectonic characteristics similar to those associated with FLNA mutations; cortical pathology was not typical of polymicrogyria. Cerebellar involvement was more severe and the hippocampi appeared simple and under-rotated.
This series delineates a malformation complex in which PNH in the trigones and occipito-temporal horns is associated with hippocampal, corpus callosum, and cerebellar dysgenesis. This subtype of PNH is distinct from classic PNH caused by FLNA mutations.
To date, growth of the human fetal cerebellum has been estimated primarily from linear measurements from ultrasound and 2D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we use 3D analytical methods to develop normative growth trajectories for the cerebellum in utero. We measured cerebellar volume, linear dimensions, and local surface curvature from 3D reconstructed MRI of the human fetal brain (N = 46). We found that cerebellar volume increased approximately 7-fold from 20 to 31 gestational weeks. The better fit of the exponential curve (R2 = 0.96) compared to the linear curve (R2 = 0.92) indicated acceleration in growth. Within-subject cerebellar and cerebral volumes were highly correlated (R2 = 0.94), though the cerebellar percentage of total brain volume increased from approximately 2.4% to 3.7% (R2 = 0.63). Right and left hemispheric volumes did not significantly differ. Transcerebellar diameter, vermal height, and vermal anterior to posterior diameter increased significantly at constant rates. From the local curvature analysis, we found that expansion along the inferior and superior aspects of the hemispheres resulted in decreased convexity, which is likely due to the physical constraints of the dura surrounding the cerebellum and the adjacent brainstem. The paired decrease in convexity along the inferior vermis and increased convexity of the medial hemisphere represents development of the paravermian fissure, which becomes more visible during this period. In this 3D morphometric analysis of the human fetal cerebellum, we have shown that cerebellar growth is accelerating at a greater pace than the cerebrum and described how cerebellar growth impacts the shape of the structure.
Cerebellum; Fetal MRI; Brain development; Posterior fossa; Vermis
Monosomy 1p36 is the most common subtelomeric chromosomal deletion linked to mental retardation and seizures. Neuroimaging studies suggest that monosomy 1p36 is associated with brain malformations including polymicrogyria and nodular heterotopia, but the histopathology of these lesions is unknown. Here we present postmortem neuropathological findings from a 10 year-old girl with monosomy 1p36, who died of respiratory complications. The findings included micrencephaly, periventricular nodular heterotopia in occipitotemporal lobes, cortical dysgenesis resembling polymicrogyria in dorsolateral frontal lobes, hippocampal malrotation, callosal hypoplasia, superiorly rotated cerebellum with small vermis, and lumbosacral hydromyelia. The abnormal cortex exhibited “festooned” (undulating) supragranular layers, but no significant fusion of the molecular layer. Deletion mapping demonstrated single copy loss of a contiguous 1p36 terminal region encompassing many important neurodevelopmental genes, among them four HES genes implicated in regulating neural stem cell differentiation, and TP73, a monoallelically expressed gene. Our results suggest that brain and spinal malformations in monosomy 1p36 may be more extensive than previously recognized, and may depend on the parental origin of deleted genes. More broadly, our results suggest that specific genetic disorders may cause distinct forms of cortical dysgenesis.
Periventricular nodular heterotopia; Hippocampal malrotation; Cortical dysgenesis; Malformations of cortical development; Hydromyelia; Mental retardation; Epilepsy
We describe six cases from three unrelated consanguineous Egyptian families with a novel characteristic brain malformation at the level of the diencephalic–mesencephalic junction. Brain magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a dysplasia of the diencephalic–mesencephalic junction with a characteristic ‘butterfly’-like contour of the midbrain on axial sections. Additional imaging features included variable degrees of supratentorial ventricular dilatation and hypoplasia to complete agenesis of the corpus callosum. Diffusion tensor imaging showed diffuse hypomyelination and lack of an identifiable corticospinal tract. All patients displayed severe cognitive impairment, post-natal progressive microcephaly, axial hypotonia, spastic quadriparesis and seizures. Autistic features were noted in older cases. Talipes equinovarus, non-obstructive cardiomyopathy and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous were additional findings in two families. One of the patients required shunting for hydrocephalus; however, this yielded no change in ventricular size suggestive of dysplasia rather than obstruction. We propose the term ‘diencephalic–mesencephalic junction dysplasia’ to characterize this autosomal recessive malformation.
diencephalon; mesencephalon; mental retardation; brainstem malformation; brain wiring
To investigate the contribution of hypoglycemia in the first 24 hours after birth to brain injury in term newborns at risk for neonatal encephalopathy.
A prospective cohort of 94 term neonates born between 1994 and 2010 with early postnatal brain MRI studies were analyzed for regions of brain injury. Neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed at one year of age.
Hypoglycemia (glucose <46mg/dL) in the first 24 hours after birth was detected in 16% of the cohort. Adjusting for potential confounders of early perinatal distress and need for resuscitation, neonatal hypoglycemia was associated with a 3.72-fold increased odds of corticospinal tract injury (P=0.047). Hypoglycemia was also associated with 4.82-fold increased odds of one-point worsened neuromotor score (P=0.038) and a 15-point lower cognitive and language score on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (P=0.015).
Neonatal hypoglycemia is associated with additional risks in the setting of neonatal encephalopathy with increased corticospinal tract injury and adverse motor and cognitive outcomes.
hypoglycemia; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; neuroimaging; developmental outcome
With improving survival rates of preterm newborns, adverse cognitive outcomes are increasingly recognized. Adverse cognitive outcomes are associated with decreased cerebellar volumes, and modifiable risk factors for these adverse outcomes should be identified. Animal models demonstrate reduced preterm cerebellar growth after exposure to glucocorticoids. Preterm neonates were prospectively studied with serial MRI examinations near birth and again near term-equivalent age. Adjusting for associated clinical factors, antenatal bethamethasone was not associated with changes in cerebellar volume. Postnatal exposure to clinically routine doses of hydrocortisone or dexamethasone were associated with impaired cerebellar, but not cerebral, growth. Modifying postnatal risk factors for impaired cerebellar development, and particularly glucocorticoid exposure, may help to decrease risk for adverse neurological outcome after preterm birth.
The process of brain growth involves the expansion of tissue at different rates at different points within the brain. As the layers within the developing brain evolve they can thicken or increase in area as the brain surface begins to fold. In this work we propose a new spatiotemporal formulation of tensor based volume morphometry that is derived in relation to tissue boundaries. This allows the study of the directional properties of tissue growth by separately characterizing the changes in area and thickness of the adjacent layers. The approach uses temporally weighted, local regression across a population of anatomies with different ages to model changes in components of the growth radial and tangential to the boundary between tissue layers. The formulation is applied to the study of sulcal formation from in-utero MR imaging of human fetal brain anatomy. Results show that the method detects differential growth of tissue layers adjacent to the cortical surface, particularly at sulcal locations, as early as 22 gestational weeks.
Improved understanding of how the human brain is “wired” on a macroscale may now be possible due to the emerging field of MRI connectomics. However, mapping the rapidly developing infant brain networks poses challenges. In this study, we applied an automated template-free “baby connectome” framework using diffusion MRI to non-invasively map the structural brain networks in subjects of different ages, including premature neonates, term-born neonates, six-month-old infants, and adults. We observed increasing brain network integration and decreasing segregation with age in term-born subjects. We also explored how the equal area nodes can be grouped into modules without any prior anatomical information – an important step toward a fully network-driven registration and analysis of brain connectivity.
Early cortical folding and the emergence of structural brain asymmetries have been previously analyzed by neuropathology as well as qualitative analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of fetuses and preterm neonates. In this study, we present a dedicated image analysis framework and its application for the detection of folding patterns during the critical period for the formation of many primary sulci (20–28 gestational weeks). Using structural information from in utero MRI, we perform morphometric analysis of cortical plate surface development and modeling of early folding in the normal fetal brain. First, we identify regions of the fetal brain surface that undergo significant folding changes during this developmental period and provide precise temporal staging of these changes for each region of interest. Then, we highlight the emergence of interhemispheric structural asymmetries that may be related to future functional specialization of cortical areas. Our findings complement previous descriptions of early sulcogenesis based on neuropathology and qualitative evaluation of 2D in utero MRI by accurate spatial and temporal mapping of the emergence of individual sulci as well as structural brain asymmetries. The study provides the missing starting point for their developmental trajectories and extends our understanding of normal cortical folding.
cortex; development; fetus; folding; lateralization
To describe the association between electrographic seizures and brain injury judged from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in newborns treated with hypothermia.
56 newborns treated with hypothermia were monitored using video-EEG through cooling and rewarming, and imaged at a median of 5 days. EEGs were reviewed for seizures and status epilepticus. Moderate-severe injury on MRI was measured using a classification similar to one predicting abnormal outcome in an analogous population.
Seizures were recorded in 17 newborns, five withstatus epilepticus. Moderate-severe injury was more common in newborns with seizures (RR 2.9; 95%CI 1.2-4.5; P=0.02), and present in all with status epilepticus. Children with moderate-severe injury had seizures that were multifocal, later onset, and more likely to have ongoing seizures following 20mg/kg phenobarbital. Newborns with only subclinical seizures were as likely to have injury as compared with those whose seizures had a clinical correlate (57% vs. 60%).
Seizures remain a risk factor for brain injury in the setting of therapeutic hypothermia, especially in neonates with status epilepticus, multifocal onset seizures, and need for multiple medications.However, 40% were spared from brain injury, suggesting that the outcome following seizures is not uniformly poor in children treated with therapeutic hypothermia.
Intensive care; Infant, newborn; Hypothermia, induced; Seizures; Electroencephalography; Magnetic resonance imaging
We examined neonatal predictors of epilepsy in term newborns with neonatal encephalopathy (NE) by studying children enrolled in a longitudinal, single center cohort study. Clinical data were obtained through chart review, and MRI was performed in the neonatal period. We administered a seizure questionnaire to parents of children aged ≥12 months (range 12 months–16.5 years) to determine the outcome of epilepsy. The association between clinical predictors and time to onset of epilepsy was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression. Thirteen of 129 children developed epilepsy: all had neonatal seizures and brain injury on neonatal MRI. Of the newborns with neonatal seizures, 25% (15.8/1000 person-years) developed epilepsy, with the highest hazard ratios (HR) in the newborns with status epilepticus (HR 35.8, 95% CI 6.5 –196.5). Children with severe or near-total brain injury were more likely to develop epilepsy compared with those with only mild or moderate injury (HR 5.5, 95% CI 1.8–16.8). In a multivariable analysis adjusting for degree of encephalopathy and severe/near total brain injury, status epilepticus was independently associated with epilepsy. These data add to information regarding epilepsy pathogenesis, and further aid clinicians to counsel parents regarding the likelihood that a newborn with NE will develop epilepsy.
Hemimegalencephaly (HMG) is a developmental brain disorder characterized by an enlarged, malformed cerebral hemisphere, typically causing epilepsy that requires surgical resection. We studied resected HMG tissue to test whether the condition might reflect somatic mutations affecting genes critical to brain development. We found that 2/8 HMG samples showed trisomy of chromosome 1q, encompassing many genes, including AKT3, which is known to regulate brain size. A third case showed a known activating mutation in AKT3 (c.49G→A, creating p.E17K) that was not present in the patient’s blood cells. Remarkably, the E17K mutation in AKT3 is exactly paralogous to E17K mutations in AKT1 and AKT2 recently discovered in somatic overgrowth syndromes. We show that AKT3 is the most abundant AKT paralogue in brain during neurogenesis and that phosphorylated AKT is abundant in cortical progenitor cells. Our data suggest that somatic mutations limited to brain could represent an important cause of complex neurogenetic disease.