Deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, mental retardation, and seizures (DOORS) syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of unknown cause. We aimed to identify the genetic basis of this syndrome by sequencing most coding exons in affected individuals.
Through a search of available case studies and communication with collaborators, we identified families that included at least one individual with at least three of the five main features of the DOORS syndrome: deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy, intellectual disability, and seizures. Participants were recruited from 26 centres in 17 countries. Families described in this study were enrolled between Dec 1, 2010, and March 1, 2013. Collaborating physicians enrolling participants obtained clinical information and DNA samples from the affected child and both parents if possible. We did whole-exome sequencing in affected individuals as they were enrolled, until we identified a candidate gene, and Sanger sequencing to confirm mutations. We did expression studies in human fibroblasts from one individual by real-time PCR and western blot analysis, and in mouse tissues by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR.
26 families were included in the study. We did exome sequencing in the first 17 enrolled families; we screened for TBC1D24 by Sanger sequencing in subsequent families. We identified TBC1D24 mutations in 11 individuals from nine families (by exome sequencing in seven families, and Sanger sequencing in two families). 18 families had individuals with all five main features of DOORS syndrome, and TBC1D24 mutations were identified in half of these families. The seizure types in individuals with TBC1D24 mutations included generalised tonic-clonic, complex partial, focal clonic, and infantile spasms. Of the 18 individuals with DOORS syndrome from 17 families without TBC1D24 mutations, eight did not have seizures and three did not have deafness. In expression studies, some mutations abrogated TBC1D24 mRNA stability. We also detected Tbc1d24 expression in mouse phalangeal chondrocytes and calvaria, which suggests a role of TBC1D24 in skeletogenesis.
Our findings suggest that mutations in TBC1D24 seem to be an important cause of DOORS syndrome and can cause diverse phenotypes. Thus, individuals with DOORS syndrome without deafness and seizures but with the other features should still be screened for TBC1D24 mutations. More information is needed to understand the cellular roles of TBC1D24 and identify the genes responsible for DOORS phenotypes in individuals who do not have a mutation in TBC1D24.
US National Institutes of Health, the CIHR (Canada), the NIHR (UK), the Wellcome Trust, the Henry Smith Charity, and Action Medical Research.
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.
mesial temporal lobe epilepsy; mesial temporal sclerosis; SCN1A; association; complex genetics
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.
epilepsy; dysmorphism; structural variants; genomics; dense surface models
Dravet syndrome is an epilepsy syndrome of infantile onset, frequently caused by SCN1A mutations or deletions. Its prevalence, long-term evolution in adults and neuropathology are not well known. We identified a series of 22 adult patients, including three adult post-mortem cases with Dravet syndrome. For all patients, we reviewed the clinical history, seizure types and frequency, antiepileptic drugs, cognitive, social and functional outcome and results of investigations. A systematic neuropathology study was performed, with post-mortem material from three adult cases with Dravet syndrome, in comparison with controls and a range of relevant paediatric tissue. Twenty-two adults with Dravet syndrome, 10 female, were included, median age 39 years (range 20–66). SCN1A structural variation was found in 60% of the adult Dravet patients tested, including one post-mortem case with DNA extracted from brain tissue. Novel mutations were described for 11 adult patients; one patient had three SCN1A mutations. Features of Dravet syndrome in adulthood include multiple seizure types despite polytherapy, and age-dependent evolution in seizure semiology and electroencephalographic pattern. Fever sensitivity persisted through adulthood in 11 cases. Neurological decline occurred in adulthood with cognitive and motor deterioration. Dysphagia may develop in or after the fourth decade of life, leading to significant morbidity, or death. The correct diagnosis at an older age made an impact at several levels. Treatment changes improved seizure control even after years of drug resistance in all three cases with sufficient follow-up after drug changes were instituted; better control led to significant improvement in cognitive performance and quality of life in adulthood in two cases. There was no histopathological hallmark feature of Dravet syndrome in this series. Strikingly, there was remarkable preservation of neurons and interneurons in the neocortex and hippocampi of Dravet adult post-mortem cases. Our study provides evidence that Dravet syndrome is at least in part an epileptic encephalopathy.
SCN1A; Na+ channel; epilepsy; neuropathology; encephalopathy
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.
partial epilepsy; genome-wide association; genetics; common variants
The genetic basis of variation in human cognitive abilities is poorly understood. RIMS1 encodes a synapse active‐zone protein with important roles in the maintenance of normal synaptic function: mice lacking this protein have greatly reduced learning ability and memory function.
An established paradigm examining the structural and functional effects of mutations in genes expressed in the eye and the brain was used to study a kindred with an inherited retinal dystrophy due to RIMS1 mutation.
Materials and methods
Neuropsychological tests and high‐resolution MRI brain scanning were undertaken in the kindred. In a population cohort, neuropsychological scores were associated with common variation in RIMS1. Additionally, RIMS1 was sequenced in top‐scoring individuals. Evolution of RIMS1 was assessed, and its expression in developing human brain was studied.
Affected individuals showed significantly enhanced cognitive abilities across a range of domains. Analysis suggests that factors other than RIMS1 mutation were unlikely to explain enhanced cognition. No association with common variation and verbal IQ was found in the population cohort, and no other mutations in RIMS1 were detected in the highest scoring individuals from this cohort. RIMS1 protein is expressed in developing human brain, but RIMS1 does not seem to have been subjected to accelerated evolution in man.
A possible role for RIMS1 in the enhancement of cognitive function at least in this kindred is suggested. Although further work is clearly required to explore these findings before a role for RIMS1 in human cognition can be formally accepted, the findings suggest that genetic mutation may enhance human cognition in some cases.
Several recent reports of genomic microdeletions in epilepsy will generate further research; discovery of more microdeletions and other important classes of variants may follow. Detection of such genetic abnormalities in patients being evaluated for surgical treatment might raise concern that a genetic defect, possibly widely expressed in the brain, will affect surgical outcome.
A reevaluation was undertaken of clinical presurgical data, histopathology of surgical specimen, and postsurgical outcome in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) who have had surgical treatment for their drug-resistant seizures, and who have been found to have particular genomic microdeletions.
Three thousand eight hundred twelve patients with epilepsy were genotyped and had a genome-wide screen to identify copy number variation. Ten patients with MTLE, who had resective epilepsy surgery, were found to have 16p13.11 microdeletions or other microdeletions >1 Mb. On histopathology, eight had classical hippocampal sclerosis (HS), one had nonspecific findings, and one had a hamartoma. Median postsurgical follow-up time was 48 months (range 10–156 months). All patients with HS were seizure-free after surgery, International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) outcome class 1, at last follow-up; the patient with nonspecific pathology had recurrence of infrequent seizures after 7 years of seizure freedom. The patient with a hamartoma never became seizure-free.
Large microdeletions can be found in patients with “typical” MTLE. In this small series, patients with MTLE who meet criteria for resective surgery and harbor large microdeletions, at least those we have detected, can have a good postsurgical outcome. Our findings add to the spectrum of causal heterogeneity of MTLE + HS.
Epilepsy surgery; Hippocampal sclerosis; Temporal lobectomy; Deletions
To study the functional activity of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) at the blood-brain barrier of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy using (R)-[11C]verapamil (VPM)-PET before and after temporal lobe surgery to assess whether postoperative changes in seizure frequency and antiepileptic drug load are associated with changes in Pgp function.
Seven patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy underwent VPM-PET scans pre- and postsurgery. Patients were followed up for a median of 6 years (range 4–7) after surgery. Pgp immunoreactivity in surgically resected hippocampal specimens was determined with immunohistochemistry.
Optimal surgical outcome, defined as seizure freedom and withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs, was associated with higher temporal lobe Pgp function before surgery, higher Pgp-positive staining in surgically resected hippocampal specimens, and reduction in global Pgp function postoperatively, compared with nonoptimal surgery outcome.
The data from our pilot study suggest that Pgp overactivity in epilepsy is dynamic, and complete seizure control and elimination of antiepileptic medication is associated with reversal of overactivity, although these findings will require confirmation in a larger patient cohort.
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.
We performed a genomewide association study of samples obtained from 22 subjects with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity syndrome, 43 subjects with carbamazepine-induced maculopapular exanthema, and 3987 control subjects, all of European descent. We tested for an association between disease and HLA alleles through proxy single-nucleotide polymorphisms and imputation, confirming associations by high-resolution sequence-based HLA typing. We replicated the associations in samples from 145 subjects with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity reactions.
The HLA-A★3101 allele, which has a prevalence of 2 to 5% in Northern European populations, was significantly associated with the hypersensitivity syndrome (P = 3.5×10−8). An independent genomewide association study of samples from subjects with maculopapular exanthema also showed an association with the HLA-A★3101 allele (P = 1.1×10−6). Follow-up genotyping confirmed the variant as a risk factor for the hypersensitivity syndrome (odds ratio, 12.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.27 to 121.03), maculopapular exanthema (odds ratio, 8.33; 95% CI, 3.59 to 19.36), and SJS–TEN (odds ratio, 25.93; 95% CI, 4.93 to 116.18).
The presence of the HLA-A★3101 allele was associated with carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity reactions among subjects of Northern European ancestry. The presence of the allele increased the risk from 5.0% to 26.0%, whereas its absence reduced the risk from 5.0% to 3.8%. (Funded by the U.K. Department of Health and others.)
Activation of the mTOR pathway has been linked to the cytopathology and epileptogenicity of malformations, specifically Focal Cortical Dysplasia (FCD) and Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC). Experimental and clinical trials have shown than mTOR inhibitors have anti-epileptogenic effects in TS. Dysmorphic neurones and balloon cells are hallmarks of FCDIIb and TSC, but similar cells are also occasionally observed in other acquired epileptogenic pathologies, including hippocampal sclerosis (HS) and Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE). Our aim was to explore mTOR pathway activation in a range of epilepsy-associated pathologies and in lesion-negative cases.
50 epilepsy surgical pathologies were selected including HS ILAE type 1 with (5) and without dysmorphic neurones (4), FCDIIa (1), FCDIIb (5), FCDIIIa (5), FCDIIIb (3), FCDIIId (3), RE (5) and cortex adjacent to cavernoma (1). We also included pathology-negative epilepsy cases; temporal cortex (7), frontal cortex (2), paired frontal cortical samples with different ictal activity according to intracranial EEG recordings (4), cortex with acute injuries from electrode tracks (5) and additionally non-epilepsy surgical controls (3). Immunohistochemistry for phospho-S6 (pS6) ser240/244 and ser235/236 and double-labelling for Iba1, neurofilament, GFAP, GFAPdelta, doublecortin, and nestin were performed. Predominant neuronal labelling was observed with pS6 ser240/244 and glial labelling with pS6 ser235/236 in all pathology types but with evidence for co-expression in a proportion of cells in all pathologies. Intense labelling of dysmorphic neurones and balloon cells was observed in FCDIIb, but dysmorphic neurones were also labelled in RE and HS. There was no difference in pS6 labelling in paired samples according to ictal activity. Double-labelling immunofluorescent studies further demonstrated the co-localisation of pS6 with nestin, doublecortin, GFAPdelta in populations of small, immature neuroglial cells in a range of epilepsy pathologies.
Although mTOR activation has been more studied in the FCDIIb and TSC, our observations suggest this pathway is activated in a variety of epilepsy-associated pathologies, and in varied cell types including dysmorphic neurones, microglia and immature cell types. There was no definite evidence from our studies to suggest that pS6 expression is directly related to disease activity.
mTOR pathway; Epilepsy; Neuronal dysplasia; Hippocampal sclerosis; Rasmussen’s’ encephalitis
In epilepsy, the diagnosis of mild Malformation of Cortical Development type II (mMCD II) predominantly relies on the histopathological assessment of heterotopic neurons in the white matter. The exact diagnostic criteria for mMCD II are still ill-defined, mainly because findings from previous studies were contradictory due to small sample size, and the use of different stains and quantitative systems. Advance in technology leading to the development of whole slide imaging with high-throughput, automated quantitative analysis (WSA) may overcome these differences, and may provide objective, rapid, and reliable quantitation of white matter neurons in epilepsy. This study quantified the density of NeuN immunopositive neurons in the white matter of up to 142 epilepsy and control cases using WSA. Quantitative data from WSA was compared to two other systems, semi-automated quantitation, and the widely accepted method of stereology, to assess the reliability and quality of results from WSA.
All quantitative systems showed a higher density of white matter neurons in epilepsy cases compared to controls (P = 0.002). We found that, in particular, WSA with user-defined region of interest (manual) was superior in terms of larger sampled size, ease of use, time consumption, and accuracy in region selection and cell recognition compared to other methods. Using results from WSA manual, we proposed a threshold value for the classification of mMCD II, where 78% of patients now classified with mMCD II were seizure-free at the second post-operatively follow up.
This study confirms the potential role of WSA in future quantitative diagnostic histology, especially for the histopathological diagnosis of mMCD.
mMCD; Immunohistochemistry; Quantitation; Stereology; Heterotophic; Neurons
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.
Genetics; MRI; GWAS; Consortium; Meta-analysis; Multi-site
Heterozygous loss-of-function (LOF) mutations in the gene encoding the DNA-binding protein, SATB2, result in micrognathia and cleft palate in both humans and mice. In three unrelated individuals, we show that translocation breakpoints (BPs) up to 896 kb 3′ of SATB2 polyadenylation site cause a phenotype which is indistinguishable from that caused by SATB2 LOF mutations. This syndrome comprises long nose, small mouth, micrognathia, cleft palate, arachnodactyly and intellectual disability. These BPs map to a gene desert between PLCL1 and SATB2. We identified three putative cis-regulatory elements (CRE1–3) using a comparative genomic approach each of which would be placed in trans relative to SATB2 by all three BPs. CRE1–3 each bind p300 and mono-methylated H3K4 consistent with enhancer function. In silico analysis suggested that CRE1–3 contain one or more conserved SOX9-binding sites, and this binding was confirmed using chromatin immunoprecipitation on cells derived from mouse embryonic pharyngeal arch. Interphase bacterial artificial chromosome fluorescence in situ hybridization measurements in embryonic craniofacial tissues showed that the orthologous region in mice exhibits Satb2 expression-dependent chromatin decondensation consistent with Satb2 being a target gene of CRE1–3. To assess their in vivo function, we made multiple stable reporter transgenic lines for each enhancer in zebrafish. CRE2 was shown to drive SATB2-like expression in the embryonic craniofacial region. This expression could be eliminated by mutating the SOX9-binding site of CRE2. These observations suggest that SATB2 and SOX9 may be acting together via complex cis-regulation to coordinate the growth of the developing jaw.
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 Alzheimer’s disease1,2 and is reduced in schizophrenia3, major depression4 and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy5. Whereas many brain imaging phenotypes are highly heritable6,7, 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).
Alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC) is a rare, severe neurodevelopmental syndrome characterized by recurrent hemiplegic episodes and distinct neurologic manifestations. AHC is usually a sporadic disorder with unknown etiology. Using exome sequencing of seven patients with AHC, and their unaffected parents, we identified de novo nonsynonymous mutations in ATP1A3 in all seven AHC patients. Subsequent sequence analysis of ATP1A3 in 98 additional patients revealed that 78% of AHC cases have a likely causal ATP1A3 mutation, including one inherited mutation in a familial case of AHC. Remarkably, six ATP1A3 mutations explain the majority of patients, including one observed in 36 patients. Unlike ATP1A3 mutations that cause rapid-onset-dystonia-parkinsonism, AHC-causing mutations revealed consistent reductions in ATPase activity without effects on protein expression. This work identifies de novo ATP1A3 mutations as the primary cause of AHC, and offers insight into disease pathophysiology by expanding the spectrum of phenotypes associated with mutations in this gene.
Buccal midazolam is a rescue medication to reduce the duration of or stop an epileptic seizure, and is used to prevent status epilepticus. It is available in various forms, including a buccal preparation with a strength of 10 mg/1 ml. Midazolam is a licensed medication, but the buccal formulation is currently used off-licence. The prescriber takes ultimate responsibility for its use in this way. Administered by a trained person, it is receiving widespread acceptance as an alternative and effective treatment to rectally-administered diazepam in the community. The commonest side effects of midazolam are drowsiness and somnolence, although respiratory depression and paradoxical reactions, for example, agitation, restlessness and disorientation, may also occur. Hypotension is said to be a rare side effect, but with no reported cases in people administered buccal midazolam. The authors report a case of significant hypotension associated with administration of buccal midazolam for seizure management.
Recent advances in genomics technologies have spurred unprecedented efforts in genome and exome re-sequencing aiming to unravel the genetic component of rare and complex disorders. While in rare disorders this allowed the identification of novel causal genes, the missing heritability paradox in complex diseases remains so far elusive. Despite rapid advances of next-generation sequencing, both the technology and the analysis of the data it produces are in its infancy. At present there is abundant knowledge pertaining to the role of rare single nucleotide variants (SNVs) in rare disorders and of common SNVs in common disorders. Although the 1,000 genome project has clearly highlighted the prevalence of rare variants and more complex variants (e.g. insertions, deletions), their role in disease is as yet far from elucidated.
We set out to analyse the properties of sequence variants identified in a comprehensive collection of exome re-sequencing studies performed on samples from patients affected by a broad range of complex and rare diseases (N = 173). Given the known potential for Loss of Function (LoF) variants to be false positive, we performed an extensive validation of the common, rare and private LoF variants identified, which indicated that most of the private and rare variants identified were indeed true, while common novel variants had a significantly higher false positive rate. Our results indicated a strong enrichment of very low-frequency insertion/deletion variants, so far under-investigated, which might be difficult to capture with low coverage and imputation approaches and for which most of study designs would be under-powered. These insertions and deletions might play a significant role in disease genetics, contributing specifically to the underlining rare and private variation predicted to be discovered through next generation sequencing.
Detailed neuropathological studies of the extent of hippocampal sclerosis (HS) in epilepsy along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus are lacking. Neuroimaging studies of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy support that sclerosis is not always localised. The extent of HS is of relevance to surgical planning and poor outcomes may relate to residual HS in the posterior remnant. In 10 post mortems from patients with long histories of drug refractory epilepsy and 3 controls we systematically sampled the left and right hippocampus at seven coronal anatomical levels along the body to the tail. We quantified neuronal densities in CA1 and CA4 subfields at each level using Cresyl Violet (CV), calretinin (CR), calbindin (CB) and Neuropeptide Y (NPY) immunohistochemistry. In the dentate gyrus we graded the extent of granule cell dispersion, patterns of CB expression, and synaptic reorganisation with CR and NPY at each level. We identified four patterns of HS based on patterns of pyramidal and interneuronal loss and dentate gyrus reorganisation between sides and levels as follows: (1) symmetrical HS with anterior–posterior (AP) gradient, (2) symmetrical HS without AP gradient, (3) asymmetrical HS with AP gradient and (4) asymmetrical cases without AP gradient. We confirmed in this series that HS can extend into the tail. The patterns of sclerosis (classical versus atypical or none) were consistent between all levels in less than a third of cases. In conclusion, this series highlights the variability of HS along the longitudinal axis. Further studies are required to identify factors that lead to focal versus diffuse HS.
Hippocampal sclerosis; Quantitation; Calbindin; Neuropeptide Y; Calretinin
An association between carbamazepine-induced hypersensitivity and HLA-A*3101 has been reported in populations of both European and Asian descent. We aimed to investigate HLA-A*3101 and other common variants across the genome as markers for cutaneous adverse drug reactions (cADRs) attributed to lamotrigine and phenytoin.
Materials & methods
We recruited patients with lamotrigine-induced cADRs (n = 46) and patients with phenytoin-cADRs (n = 44) and the 1958 British birth cohort was used as a control (n = 1296). HLA-A*3101 was imputed from genome-wide association study data. We applied genome-wide association to study lamotrigine- and phenytoin-induced cADR, and total cADR cases combined.
Neither HLA-A*3101 nor any other genetic marker significantly predicted lamotrigine- or phenytoin-induced cADRs.
HLA-A*3101 does not appear to be a predictor for lamotrigine- and phenytoin-induced cADRs in Europeans. Our genome-wide association study results do not support the existence of a clinically relevant common variant for the development of lamotrigine- or phenytoin-induced cADRs. As a predictive marker, HLA-A*3101 appears to be specific for carbamazepine-induced cADRs.
epilepsy; GWAS; HLA-A*3101; hypersensitivity; lamotrigine; phenytoin
The emergence of array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) as a diagnostic tool in molecular genetics has facilitated recognition of microdeletions and microduplications as risk factors for both generalised and focal epilepsies. Furthermore, there is evidence that some microdeletions/duplications, such as the 15q13.3 deletion predispose to a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including intellectual disability (ID), autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.
We hypothesised that array CGH would reveal relevant findings in an adult patient group with epilepsy and complex phenotypes.
82 patients (54 from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and 28 from King’s College Hospital) with drug-resistant epilepsy and co-morbidities had array CGH. Separate clinicians ordered array CGH and separate platforms were used at the two sites.
In the two independent groups we identified copy number variants judged to be of pathogenic significance in 13.5% (7/52) and 20% (5/25) respectively, noting that slightly different selection criteria were used, giving an overall yield of 15.6%. Sixty-nine variants of unknown significance were also identified in the group from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and 5 from the King’s College Hospital patient group.
We conclude that array CGH be considered an important investigation in adults with complicated epilepsy and, at least at present for selected patients, should join the diagnostic repertoire of clinical history and examination, neuroimaging, electroencephalography and other indicated investigations in generating a more complete formulation of an individual’s epilepsy.
► Copy number variants may predispose to a range of neuropsychiatric disorders. ► Array CGH may reveal relevant findings in adults with complex phenotypes. ► Likely pathogenic copy number changes were identified with a yield of 15.6%. ► Array CGH should join the diagnostic repertoire for adults with complex phenotypes.
Array comparative genomic hybridization; Copy number variation; DNA; Epilepsy; Co-morbidity
16p13.11 genomic copy number variants are implicated in several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, autism, mental retardation, ADHD and epilepsy. The mechanisms leading to the diverse clinical manifestations of deletions and duplications at this locus are unknown. Most studies favour NDE1 as the leading disease-causing candidate gene at 16p13.11. In epilepsy at least, the deletion does not appear to unmask recessive-acting mutations in NDE1, with haploinsufficiency and genetic modifiers being prime candidate disease mechanisms. NDE1 encodes a protein critical to cell positioning during cortical development. As a first step, it is important to determine whether 16p13.11 copy number change translates to detectable brain structural alteration. We undertook detailed neuropathology on surgically resected brain tissue of two patients with intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), who had the same heterozygous NDE1-containing 800 kb 16p13.11 deletion, using routine histological stains and immunohistochemical markers against a range of layer-specific, white matter, neural precursor and migratory cell proteins, and NDE1 itself. Surgical temporal lobectomy samples from a MTLE case known not to have a deletion in NDE1 and three non-epilepsy cases were included as disease controls. We found that apart from a 3 mm hamartia in the temporal cortex of one MTLE case with NDE1 deletion and known hippocampal sclerosis in the other case, cortical lamination and cytoarchitecture were normal, with no differences between cases with deletion and disease controls. How 16p13.11 copy changes lead to a variety of brain diseases remains unclear, but at least in epilepsy, it would not seem to be through structural abnormality or dyslamination as judged by microscopy or immunohistochemistry. The need to integrate additional data with genetic findings to determine their significance will become more pressing as genetic technologies generate increasingly rich datasets. Detailed examination of brain tissue, where available, will be an important part of this process in neurogenetic disease specifically.
Mutations in prominin 1 (PROM1) have been shown to result in retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and cone-rod dystrophy. Because of the putative role of PROM1 in hippocampal neurogenesis, we examined two kindreds with the same R373C PROM1 missense mutation using our established paradigm to study brain structure and function. As the protein encoded by PROM1, known as CD133, is used to identify stem/progenitor cells that can be found in peripheral blood and reflect endothelial reparatory mechanisms, other parameters were subsequently examined that included measures of vascular function, endothelial function and angiogenic capacity. We found that aspects of endothelial function assayed ex vivo were abnormal in patients with the R373C PROM1 mutation, with impaired adhesion capacity and higher levels of cellular damage. We also noted renal infections, haematuria and recurrent miscarriages possibly reflecting consequences of abnormal tubular modelling. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
PROM1; CD133; endothelial; tubule; sella turcica
The long-term pathological effects of chronic epilepsy on normal brain ageing are unknown. Previous clinical and epidemiological studies show progressive cognitive decline in subsets of patients and an increased prevalence of Alzheimer's disease in epilepsy. In a post-mortem series of 138 patients with long-term, mainly drug-resistant epilepsy, we carried out Braak staging for Alzheimer's disease neurofibrillary pathology using tau protein immunohistochemistry. The stages were compared with clinicopathological factors, including seizure history and presence of old traumatic brain injury. Overall, 31% of cases were Braak Stage 0, 36% Stage I/II, 31% Stage III/IV and 2% Stage V/VI. The mean age at death was 56.5 years and correlated with Braak stage (P < 0.001). Analysis of Braak stages within age groups showed a significant increase in mid-Braak stages (III/IV), in middle age (40–65 years) compared with data from an ageing non-epilepsy series (P < 0.01). There was no clear relationship between seizure type (generalized or complex partial), seizure frequency, age of onset and duration of epilepsy with Braak stage although higher Braak stages were noted with focal more than with generalized epilepsy syndromes (P < 0.01). In 30% of patients, there was pathological evidence of traumatic brain injury that was significantly associated with higher Braak stages (P < 0.001). Cerebrovascular disease present in 40.3% and cortical malformations in 11.3% were not significantly associated with Braak stage. Astrocytic-tau protein correlated with the presence of both traumatic brain injury (P < 0.01) and high Braak stage (P < 0.001). Hippocampal sclerosis, identified in 40% (bilateral in 48%), was not associated with higher Braak stages, but asymmetrical patterns of tau protein accumulation within the sclerotic hippocampus were noted. In over half of patients with cognitive decline, the Braak stage was low indicating causes other than Alzheimer's disease pathology. In summary, there is evidence of accelerated brain ageing in severe chronic epilepsy although progression to high Braak stages was infrequent. Traumatic brain injury, but not seizures, was associated with tau protein accumulation in this series. It is likely that Alzheimer's disease pathology is not the sole explanation for cognitive decline associated with epilepsy.
Braak stage; epilepsy; head trauma; hippocampal sclerosis
Patients with epilepsy often suffer from other important conditions. The existence of such co-morbidities is frequently not recognized and their relationship with epilepsy usually remains unexplained.
We describe three patients with common, sporadic, non-syndromic epilepsies in whom large genomic microdeletions were found during a study of genetic susceptibility to epilepsy. We performed detailed gene-driven clinical investigations in each patient. Disruption of the function of genes in the deleted regions can explain co-morbidities in these patients.
Co-morbidities in patients with epilepsy can be part of a genomic abnormality even in the absence of (known) congenital malformations or intellectual disabilities. Gene-driven phenotype examination can also reveal clinically significant unsuspected condition.