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See detailSub-genic intolerance, ClinVar, and the epilepsies: A whole-exome sequencing study of 29,165 individuals
Motelow, Joshua E.; Povysil, Gundula; Dhindsa, Ryan S. et al

in The American Journal of Human Genetics (2021)

Summary Both mild and severe epilepsies are influenced by variants in the same genes, yet an explanation for the resulting phenotypic variation is unknown. As part of the ongoing Epi25 Collaboration, we ... [more ▼]

Summary Both mild and severe epilepsies are influenced by variants in the same genes, yet an explanation for the resulting phenotypic variation is unknown. As part of the ongoing Epi25 Collaboration, we performed a whole-exome sequencing analysis of 13,487 epilepsy-affected individuals and 15,678 control individuals. While prior Epi25 studies focused on gene-based collapsing analyses, we asked how the pattern of variation within genes differs by epilepsy type. Specifically, we compared the genetic architectures of severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) and two generally less severe epilepsies, genetic generalized epilepsy and non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE). Our gene-based rare variant collapsing analysis used geographic ancestry-based clustering that included broader ancestries than previously possible and revealed novel associations. Using the missense intolerance ratio (MTR), we found that variants in DEE-affected individuals are in significantly more intolerant genic sub-regions than those in NAFE-affected individuals. Only previously reported pathogenic variants absent in available genomic datasets showed a significant burden in epilepsy-affected individuals compared with control individuals, and the ultra-rare pathogenic variants associated with DEE were located in more intolerant genic sub-regions than variants associated with non-DEE epilepsies. MTR filtering improved the yield of ultra-rare pathogenic variants in affected individuals compared with control individuals. Finally, analysis of variants in genes without a disease association revealed a significant burden of loss-of-function variants in the genes most intolerant to such variation, indicating additional epilepsy-risk genes yet to be discovered. Taken together, our study suggests that genic and sub-genic intolerance are critical characteristics for interpreting the effects of variation in genes that influence epilepsy. [less ▲]

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See detailClimate change and epilepsy: Insights from clinical and basic science studies
Gulcebi, Medine I.; Bartolini, Emanuele; Lee, Omay et al

in Epilepsy and Behavior (2021), 116

Climate change is with us. As professionals who place value on evidence-based practice, climate change is something we cannot ignore. The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has ... [more ▼]

Climate change is with us. As professionals who place value on evidence-based practice, climate change is something we cannot ignore. The current pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has demonstrated how global crises can arise suddenly and have a significant impact on public health. Global warming, a chronic process punctuated by acute episodes of extreme weather events, is an insidious global health crisis needing at least as much attention. Many neurological diseases are complex chronic conditions influenced at many levels by changes in the environment. This review aimed to collate and evaluate reports from clinical and basic science about the relationship between climate change and epilepsy. The keywords climate change, seasonal variation, temperature, humidity, thermoregulation, biorhythm, gene, circadian rhythm, heat, and weather were used to search the published evidence. A number of climatic variables are associated with increased seizure frequency in people with epilepsy. Climate change-induced increase in seizure precipitants such as fevers, stress, and sleep deprivation (e.g. as a result of more frequent extreme weather events) or vector-borne infections may trigger or exacerbate seizures, lead to deterioration of seizure control, and affect neurological, cerebrovascular, or cardiovascular comorbidities and risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Risks are likely to be modified by many factors, ranging from individual genetic variation and temperature-dependent channel function, to housing quality and global supply chains. According to the results of the limited number of experimental studies with animal models of seizures or epilepsy, different seizure types appear to have distinct susceptibility to seasonal influences. Increased body temperature, whether in the context of fever or not, has a critical role in seizure threshold and seizure-related brain damage. Links between climate change and epilepsy are likely to be multifactorial, complex, and often indirect, which makes predictions difficult. We need more data on possible climate-driven altered risks for seizures, epilepsy, and epileptogenesis, to identify underlying mechanisms at systems, cellular, and molecular levels for better understanding of the impact of climate change on epilepsy. Further focussed data would help us to develop evidence for mitigation methods to do more to protect people with epilepsy from the effects of climate change. [less ▲]

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See detailUltra-Rare Genetic Variation in the Epilepsies: A Whole-Exome Sequencing Study of 17,606 Individuals
Feng, Yen-Chen Anne; Howrigan, Daniel P.; Abbott, Liam E. et al

in American Journal of Human Genetics (2019)

Sequencing-based studies have identified novel risk genes associated with severe epilepsies and revealed an excess of rare deleterious variation in less-severe forms of epilepsy. To identify the shared ... [more ▼]

Sequencing-based studies have identified novel risk genes associated with severe epilepsies and revealed an excess of rare deleterious variation in less-severe forms of epilepsy. To identify the shared and distinct ultra-rare genetic risk factors for different types of epilepsies, we performed a whole-exome sequencing (WES) analysis of 9,170 epilepsy-affected individuals and 8,436 controls of European ancestry. We focused on three phenotypic groups: severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs), genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE), and non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE). We observed that compared to controls, individuals with any type of epilepsy carried an excess of ultra-rare, deleterious variants in constrained genes and in genes previously associated with epilepsy; we saw the strongest enrichment in individuals with DEEs and the least strong in individuals with NAFE. Moreover, we found that inhibitory GABAA receptor genes were enriched for missense variants across all three classes of epilepsy, whereas no enrichment was seen in excitatory receptor genes. The larger gene groups for the GABAergic pathway or cation channels also showed a significant mutational burden in DEEs and GGE. Although no single gene surpassed exome-wide significance among individuals with GGE or NAFE, highly constrained genes and genes encoding ion channels were among the lead associations; such genes included CACNA1G, EEF1A2, and GABRG2 for GGE and LGI1, TRIM3, and GABRG2 for NAFE. Our study, the largest epilepsy WES study to date, confirms a convergence in the genetics of severe and less-severe epilepsies associated with ultra-rare coding variation, and it highlights a ubiquitous role for GABAergic inhibition in epilepsy etiology. [less ▲]

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See detailClinical spectrum of STX1B-related epileptic disorders
Wolking, Stefan; May, Patrick UL; Mei, Davide et al

in Neurology (2019), 92

Objective: The aim of this study was to expand the spectrum of epilepsy syndromes related to STX1B, encoding the presynaptic protein syntaxin-1B, and to establish genotype-phenotype correlations by ... [more ▼]

Objective: The aim of this study was to expand the spectrum of epilepsy syndromes related to STX1B, encoding the presynaptic protein syntaxin-1B, and to establish genotype-phenotype correlations by identifying further disease-related variants. Methods: We used next generation sequencing in the framework of research projects and diagnostic testing. Clinical data and EEGs were reviewed, including already published cases. To estimate the pathogenicity of the variants, we used established and newly developed in silico prediction tools. Results: We describe fifteen new variants in STX1B which are distributed across the whole gene. We discerned four different phenotypic groups across the newly identified and previously published patients (49 in 23 families): 1) Six sporadic patients or families (31 affected individuals) with febrile and afebrile seizures with a benign course, generally good drug response, normal development and without permanent neurological deficits; 2) two patients of genetic generalized epilepsy without febrile seizures and cognitive deficits; 3) thirteen patients or families with intractable seizures, developmental regression after seizure onset and additional neuropsychiatric symptoms; 4) two patients with focal epilepsy. Nonsense mutations were found more often in benign syndromes, whereas missense variants in the SNARE motif of syntaxin-1B were associated with more severe phenotypes. Conclusion: These data expand the genetic and phenotypic spectrum of STX1B-related epilepsies to a diverse range of epilepsies that span the ILAE classification. Variants in STX1B are protean, and able to contribute to many different epilepsy phenotypes, similar to SCN1A, the most important gene associated with fever-associated epilepsies. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
Silvennoinen, Katri; de Lange, Nikola Maria UL; Zagaglia, Sara et al

in Epilepsia Open (2019), 0(0),

Abstract Objective To study the effectiveness and tolerability of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) commonly used in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Methods People with JME were identified from a large ... [more ▼]

Abstract Objective To study the effectiveness and tolerability of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) commonly used in juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Methods People with JME were identified from a large database of individuals with epilepsy, which includes detailed retrospective information on AED use. We assessed secular changes in AED use and calculated rates of response (12-month seizure freedom) and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) for the five most common AEDs. Retention was modeled with a Cox proportional hazards model. We compared valproate use between males and females. Results We included 305 people with 688 AED trials of valproate, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, carbamazepine, and topiramate. Valproate and carbamazepine were most often prescribed as the first AED. The response rate to valproate was highest among the five AEDs (42.7\%), and significantly higher than response rates for lamotrigine, carbamazepine, and topiramate; the difference to the response rate to levetiracetam (37.1\%) was not significant. The rates of ADRs were highest for topiramate (45.5\%) and valproate (37.5\%). Commonest ADRs included weight change, lethargy, and tremor. In the Cox proportional hazards model, later start year (1.10 [1.08-1.13], P < 0.001) and female sex (1.41 [1.07-1.85], P = 0.02) were associated with shorter trial duration. Valproate was associated with the longest treatment duration; trials with carbamazepine and topiramate were significantly shorter (HR [CI]: 3.29 [2.15-5.02], P < 0.001 and 1.93 [1.31-2.86], P < 0.001). The relative frequency of valproate trials shows a decreasing trend since 2003 while there is an increasing trend for levetiracetam. Fewer females than males received valproate (76.2 vs 92.6\%, P = 0.001). Significance In people with JME, valproate is an effective AED; levetiracetam emerged as an alternative. Valproate is now contraindicated in women of childbearing potential without special precautions. With appropriate selection and safeguards in place, valproate should remain available as a therapy, including as an alternative for women of childbearing potential whose seizures are resistant to other treatments. [less ▲]

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