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1.  Novel brain expression of ClC-1 chloride channels and enrichment of CLCN1 variants in epilepsy 
Neurology  2013;80(12):1078-1085.
Objective:
To explore the potential contribution of genetic variation in voltage-gated chloride channels to epilepsy, we analyzed CLCN family (CLCN1-7) gene variant profiles in individuals with complex idiopathic epilepsy syndromes and determined the expression of these channels in human and murine brain.
Methods:
We used parallel exomic sequencing of 237 ion channel subunit genes to screen individuals with a clinical diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy and evaluate the distribution of missense variants in CLCN genes in cases and controls. We examined regional expression of CLCN1 in human and mouse brain using reverse transcriptase PCR, in situ hybridization, and Western immunoblotting.
Results:
We found that in 152 individuals with sporadic epilepsy of unknown origin, 96.7% had at least one missense variant in the CLCN genes compared with 28.2% of 139 controls. Nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the “skeletal” chloride channel gene CLCN1 and in CLCN2, a putative human epilepsy gene, were detected in threefold excess in cases relative to controls. Among these, we report a novel de novo CLCN1 truncation mutation in a patient with pharmacoresistant generalized seizures and a dystonic writer's cramp without evidence of variants in other channel genes linked to epilepsy. Molecular localization revealed the unexpectedly widespread presence of CLCN1 mRNA transcripts and the ClC-1 subunit protein in human and murine brain, previously believed absent in neurons.
Conclusions:
Our findings support a possible comorbid contribution of the “skeletal” chloride channel ClC-1 to the regulation of brain excitability and the need for further elucidation of the roles of CLCN genes in neuronal network excitability disorders.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828868e7
PMCID: PMC3662306  PMID: 23408874
2.  PRRT2 phenotypic spectrum includes sporadic and fever-related infantile seizures 
Neurology  2012;79(21):2104-2108.
ABSTRACT
Objective:
Benign familial infantile epilepsy (BFIE) is an autosomal dominant epilepsy syndrome characterized by afebrile seizures beginning at about 6 months of age. Mutations in PRRT2, encoding the proline-rich transmembrane protein 2 gene, have recently been identified in the majority of families with BFIE and the associated syndrome of infantile convulsions and choreoathetosis (ICCA). We asked whether the phenotypic spectrum of PRRT2 was broader than initially recognized by studying patients with sporadic benign infantile seizures and non-BFIE familial infantile seizures for PRRT2 mutations.
Methods:
Forty-four probands with infantile-onset seizures, infantile convulsions with mild gastroenteritis, and benign neonatal seizures underwent detailed phenotyping and PRRT2 sequencing. The familial segregation of mutations identified in probands was studied.
Results:
The PRRT2 mutation c.649-650insC (p.R217fsX224) was identified in 11 probands. Nine probands had a family history of BFIE or ICCA. Two probands had no family history of infantile seizures or paroxysmal kinesigenic dyskinesia and had de novo PRRT2 mutations. Febrile seizures with or without afebrile seizures were observed in 2 families with PRRT2 mutations.
Conclusions:
PRRT2 mutations are present in >80% of BFIE and >90% ICCA families, but are not a common cause of other forms of infantile epilepsy. De novo mutations of PRRT2 can cause sporadic benign infantile seizures. Seizures with fever may occur in BFIE such that it may be difficult to distinguish BFIE from febrile seizures and febrile seizures plus in small families.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182752c6c
PMCID: PMC3511925  PMID: 23077018
3.  Peritrigonal and temporo-occipital heterotopia with corpus callosum and cerebellar dysgenesis 
Neurology  2012;79(12):1244-1251.
Objective:
To describe a homogeneous subtype of periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH) as part of a newly defined malformation complex.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusions:
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.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826aac88
PMCID: PMC3440449  PMID: 22914838
4.  PRRT2 mutations in familial infantile seizures, paroxysmal dyskinesia, and hemiplegic migraine 
Neurology  2012;79(21):2109-2114.
ABSTRACT
Objective:
To perform a clinical and genetic study of a family with benign familial infantile seizures (BFIS) and, upon finding a PRRT2 gene mutation, to study a cohort of probands with a similar phenotype. We extended the study to all available family members to find out whether PRRT2 mutations cosegregated with additional symptoms.
Methods:
We carried out a clinical and genealogic study of a 3-generation family and of 32 additional probands with BFIS (11 families), infantile convulsions and paroxysmal choreoathetosis (ICCA) (9 families), BFIS/generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (5 families), and sporadic benign neonatal or infantile seizures (7 probands/families). We performed a genetic study consisting of linkage analysis and PRRT2 screening of the 33 probands/families.
Results:
We obtained a positive linkage in the 16p11.3-q23.1 chromosomal region in the large BFIS family. Mutation analysis of PRRT2 gene revealed a c.649dupC (p.Arg217Profs*8) in all affected individuals. PRRT2 analysis of the 32 additional probands showed mutations in 10, 8 familial and 2 sporadic, probands. Overall we found PRRT2 mutations in 11 probands with a mutation rate of 11 out of 33 (33%). BFIS co-occurred with migraine and febrile seizures in 2 families, with childhood absence epilepsy in one family and with hemiplegic migraine in one family.
Conclusion:
Our results confirm the predominant role of PRRT2 mutations in BFIS and expand the spectrum of PRRT2-associated phenotypes to include febrile seizures, childhood absence seizures, migraine, and hemiplegic migraine.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182752ca2
PMCID: PMC3511926  PMID: 23077026
5.  Copy number variants and infantile spasms: evidence for abnormalities in ventral forebrain development and pathways of synaptic function 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2011;19(12):1238-1245.
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.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.121
PMCID: PMC3230360  PMID: 21694734
infantile spasms; autism; bioinformatics; copy number variation; deletion 1p36 syndrome
6.  Atypical face shape and genomic structural variants in epilepsy 
Brain  2012;135(10):3101-3114.
Many pathogenic structural variants of the human genome are known to cause facial dysmorphism. During the past decade, pathogenic structural variants have also been found to be an important class of genetic risk factor for epilepsy. In other fields, face shape has been assessed objectively using 3D stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models. We hypothesized that computer-based analysis of 3D face images would detect subtle facial abnormality in people with epilepsy who carry pathogenic structural variants as determined by chromosome microarray. In 118 children and adults attending three European epilepsy clinics, we used an objective measure called Face Shape Difference to show that those with pathogenic structural variants have a significantly more atypical face shape than those without such variants. This is true when analysing the whole face, or the periorbital region or the perinasal region alone. We then tested the predictive accuracy of our measure in a second group of 63 patients. Using a minimum threshold to detect face shape abnormalities with pathogenic structural variants, we found high sensitivity (4/5, 80% for whole face; 3/5, 60% for periorbital and perinasal regions) and specificity (45/58, 78% for whole face and perinasal regions; 40/58, 69% for periorbital region). We show that the results do not seem to be affected by facial injury, facial expression, intellectual disability, drug history or demographic differences. Finally, we use bioinformatics tools to explore relationships between facial shape and gene expression within the developing forebrain. Stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models are powerful, objective, non-contact methods of detecting relevant face shape abnormalities. We demonstrate that they are useful in identifying atypical face shape in adults or children with structural variants, and they may give insights into the molecular genetics of facial development.
doi:10.1093/brain/aws232
PMCID: PMC3470710  PMID: 22975390
epilepsy; dysmorphism; structural variants; genomics; dense surface models
7.  Clinical and imaging heterogeneity of polymicrogyria: a study of 328 patients 
Brain  2010;133(5):1415-1427.
Polymicrogyria is one of the most common malformations of cortical development and is associated with a variety of clinical sequelae including epilepsy, intellectual disability, motor dysfunction and speech disturbance. It has heterogeneous clinical manifestations and imaging patterns, yet large cohort data defining the clinical and imaging spectrum and the relative frequencies of each subtype are lacking. The aims of this study were to determine the types and relative frequencies of different polymicrogyria patterns, define the spectrum of their clinical and imaging features and assess for clinical/imaging correlations. We studied the imaging features of 328 patients referred from six centres, with detailed clinical data available for 183 patients. The ascertainment base was wide, including referral from paediatricians, geneticists and neurologists. The main patterns of polymicrogyria were perisylvian (61%), generalized (13%), frontal (5%) and parasagittal parieto-occipital (3%), and in 11% there was associated periventricular grey matter heterotopia. Each of the above patterns was further divided into subtypes based on distinguishing imaging characteristics. The remaining 7% were comprised of a number of rare patterns, many not described previously. The most common clinical sequelae were epileptic seizures (78%), global developmental delay (70%), spasticity (51%) and microcephaly (50%). Many patients presented with neurological or developmental abnormalities prior to the onset of epilepsy. Patients with more extensive patterns of polymicrogyria presented at an earlier age and with more severe sequelae than those with restricted or unilateral forms. The median age at presentation for the entire cohort was 4 months with 38% presenting in either the antenatal or neonatal periods. There were no significant differences between the prevalence of epilepsy for each polymicrogyria pattern, however patients with generalized and bilateral forms had a lower age at seizure onset. There was significant skewing towards males with a ratio of 3:2. This study expands our understanding of the spectrum of clinical and imaging features of polymicrogyria. Progression from describing imaging patterns to defining anatomoclinical syndromes will improve the accuracy of prognostic counselling and will aid identification of the aetiologies of polymicrogyria, including genetic causes.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq078
PMCID: PMC2859156  PMID: 20403963
polymicrogyria; cortical malformations; magnetic resonance; epileptology
8.  Familial Clustering of Seizure Types within the Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsies 
Neurology  2005;65(4):523-528.
Objective:
To examine the genetic relationships among epilepsies with different seizure types --myoclonic, absence, and generalized tonic-clonic -- within the idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs).
Background:
Careful phenotype definition in the epilepsies may allow division into groups that share susceptibility genes. Examination of seizure type, a phenotypic characteristic less complex than IGE syndrome, may help to define more homogeneous subgroups.
Methods:
Using the approach that found evidence for distinct genetic effects on myoclonic vs absence seizures in families from the Epilepsy Family Study of Columbia University, we examined an independent sample of families from Australia and Israel. We also examined the familial clustering of generalized tonic clonic seizures (GTCs) within the IGEs in our two combined datasets. Families were defined as concordant if all affected members had the same type of seizure or IGE syndrome, as appropriate for the analysis performed.
Results:
The proportion of families concordant for myoclonic vs absence seizures was greater than expected by chance in the Australian families. In addition, GTCs clustered in families with IGEs to a degree greater than expected by chance.
Conclusions:
These results provide additional evidence for distinct genetic effects on myoclonic vs absence seizures in an independent set of families. They also suggest that there is a genetic influence on the occurrence of GTCs within the IGEs.
doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000172920.34994.63
PMCID: PMC1225681  PMID: 16116110
Epilepsy; genetics; phenotype; IGE; myoclonic; absence; tonic-clonic; seizure

Results 1-8 (8)