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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 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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See detailRare coding variants in genes encoding GABAA receptors in genetic generalised epilepsies: an exome-based case-control study
May, Patrick UL; Girard, Simon; Harrer, Merle et al

in Lancet Neurology (2018), 17(8), 699-708

Background Genetic generalised epilepsy is the most common type of inherited epilepsy. Despite a high concordance rate of 80% in monozygotic twins, the genetic background is still poorly understood. We ... [more ▼]

Background Genetic generalised epilepsy is the most common type of inherited epilepsy. Despite a high concordance rate of 80% in monozygotic twins, the genetic background is still poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the burden of rare genetic variants in genetic generalised epilepsy. Methods For this exome-based case-control study, we used three different genetic generalised epilepsy case cohorts and three independent control cohorts, all of European descent. Cases included in the study were clinically evaluated for genetic generalised epilepsy. Whole-exome sequencing was done for the discovery case cohort, a validation case cohort, and two independent control cohorts. The replication case cohort underwent targeted next-generation sequencing of the 19 known genes encoding subunits of GABAA receptors and was compared to the respective GABAA receptor variants of a third independent control cohort. Functional investigations were done with automated two-microelectrode voltage clamping in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Findings Statistical comparison of 152 familial index cases with genetic generalised epilepsy in the discovery cohort to 549 ethnically matched controls suggested an enrichment of rare missense (Nonsyn) variants in the ensemble of 19 genes encoding GABAA receptors in cases (odds ratio [OR] 2·40 [95% CI 1·41–4·10]; pNonsyn=0·0014, adjusted pNonsyn=0·019). Enrichment for these genes was validated in a whole-exome sequencing cohort of 357 sporadic and familial genetic generalised epilepsy cases and 1485 independent controls (OR 1·46 [95% CI 1·05–2·03]; pNonsyn=0·0081, adjusted pNonsyn=0·016). Comparison of genes encoding GABAA receptors in the independent replication cohort of 583 familial and sporadic genetic generalised epilepsy index cases, based on candidate-gene panel sequencing, with a third independent control cohort of 635 controls confirmed the overall enrichment of rare missense variants for 15 GABAA receptor genes in cases compared with controls (OR 1·46 [95% CI 1·02–2·08]; pNonsyn=0·013, adjusted pNonsyn=0·027). Functional studies for two selected genes (GABRB2 and GABRA5) showed significant loss-of-function effects with reduced current amplitudes in four of seven tested variants compared with wild-type receptors. Interpretation Functionally relevant variants in genes encoding GABAA receptor subunits constitute a significant risk factor for genetic generalised epilepsy. Examination of the role of specific gene groups and pathways can disentangle the complex genetic architecture of genetic generalised epilepsy. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic variation in CFH predicts phenytoin-induced maculopapular exanthema in European-descent patients.
McCormack, Mark; Gui, Hongsheng; Ingason, Andres et al

in Neurology (2017)

OBJECTIVE: To characterize, among European and Han Chinese populations, the genetic predictors of maculopapular exanthema (MPE), a cutaneous adverse drug reaction common to antiepileptic drugs. METHODS ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVE: To characterize, among European and Han Chinese populations, the genetic predictors of maculopapular exanthema (MPE), a cutaneous adverse drug reaction common to antiepileptic drugs. METHODS: We conducted a case-control genome-wide association study of autosomal genotypes, including Class I and II human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, in 323 cases and 1,321 drug-tolerant controls from epilepsy cohorts of northern European and Han Chinese descent. Results from each cohort were meta-analyzed. RESULTS: We report an association between a rare variant in the complement factor H-related 4 (CFHR4) gene and phenytoin-induced MPE in Europeans (p = 4.5 x 10(-11); odds ratio [95% confidence interval] 7 [3.2-16]). This variant is in complete linkage disequilibrium with a missense variant (N1050Y) in the complement factor H (CFH) gene. In addition, our results reinforce the association between HLA-A*31:01 and carbamazepine hypersensitivity. We did not identify significant genetic associations with MPE among Han Chinese patients. CONCLUSIONS: The identification of genetic predictors of MPE in CFHR4 and CFH, members of the complement factor H-related protein family, suggest a new link between regulation of the complement system alternative pathway and phenytoin-induced hypersensitivity in European-ancestral patients. [less ▲]

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See detailRare GABRA3 variants are associated with epileptic seizures, encephalopathy and dysmorphic features
Niturad, Elena Christina; Lev, Dorit; Kalscheuer, Vera M et al

in Brain : A Journal of Neurology (2017), 140(11), 2879-2894

Genetic epilepsies are caused by mutations in a range of different genes, many of them encoding ion channels, receptors or transporters. While the number of detected variants and genes increased ... [more ▼]

Genetic epilepsies are caused by mutations in a range of different genes, many of them encoding ion channels, receptors or transporters. While the number of detected variants and genes increased dramatically in the recent years, pleiotropic effects have also been recognized, revealing that clinical syndromes with various degrees of severity arise from a single gene, a single mutation, or from different mutations showing similar functional defects. Accordingly, several genes coding for GABAA receptor subunits have been linked to a spectrum of benign to severe epileptic disorders and it was shown that a loss of function presents the major correlated pathomechanism. Here, we identified six variants in GABRA3 encoding the α3-subunit of the GABAA receptor. This gene is located on chromosome Xq28 and has not been previously associated with human disease. Five missense variants and one microduplication were detected in four families and two sporadic cases presenting with a range of epileptic seizure types, a varying degree of intellectual disability and developmental delay, sometimes with dysmorphic features or nystagmus. The variants co-segregated mostly but not completely with the phenotype in the families, indicating in some cases incomplete penetrance, involvement of other genes, or presence of phenocopies. Overall, males were more severely affected and there were three asymptomatic female mutation carriers compared to only one male without a clinical phenotype. X-chromosome inactivation studies could not explain the phenotypic variability in females. Three detected missense variants are localized in the extracellular GABA-binding NH2-terminus, one in the M2-M3 linker and one in the M4 transmembrane segment of the α3-subunit. Functional studies in Xenopus laevis oocytes revealed a variable but significant reduction of GABA-evoked anion currents for all mutants compared to wild-type receptors. The degree of current reduction correlated partially with the phenotype. The microduplication disrupted GABRA3 expression in fibroblasts of the affected patient. In summary, our results reveal that rare loss-of-function variants in GABRA3 increase the risk for a varying combination of epilepsy, intellectual disability/developmental delay and dysmorphic features, presenting in some pedigrees with an X-linked inheritance pattern. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative effectiveness of antiepileptic drugs in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis
Androsova, Ganna UL; Krause, Roland UL; Borghei, Mojgansadat et al

in Epilepsia (2017)

Objective: Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS) is a common epilepsy syndrome that is often poorly controlled by antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment. Comparative AED ... [more ▼]

Objective: Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS) is a common epilepsy syndrome that is often poorly controlled by antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment. Comparative AED effectiveness studies in this condition are lacking. Wereport retention, efficacy, and tolerability in a cohort of patients with MTLE-HS. Methods: Clinical data were collected from a European database of patients with epilepsy. We estimated retention, 12-month seizure freedom, and adverse drug reaction (ADR) rates for the 10 most commonly used AEDs in patients with MTLE-HS. Results: Seven hundred sixty-seven patients with a total of 3,249 AED trials were included. The highest 12-month retention rates were observed with carbamazepine (85.9%), valproate (85%), and clobazam (79%). Twelve-month seizure freedom rates varied from 1.2% for gabapentin and vigabatrin to 11% for carbamazepine. Response rates were highest for AEDs that were prescribed as initial treatment and lowest for AEDs that were used in a third or higher instance. ADRs were reported in 47.6% of patients, with the highest rates observed with oxcarbazepine (35.7%), topiramate (30.9%), and pregabalin (27.4%), and the lowest rates with clobazam (6.5%), gabapentin (8.9%), and lamotrigine (16.6%). The most commonly reported ADRs were lethargy and drowsiness, dizziness, vertigo and ataxia, and blurred vision and diplopia. Significance: Our results did not demonstrate any clear advantage of newer versus older AEDs. Our results provide useful insights into AED retention, efficacy, and ADR rates in patients with MTLE-HS. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of Presumably Disease Causing SCN1A Variants in a Cohort of Common Epilepsy Syndromes
Lal, Dennis; Reinthaler, Eva; Dejanovic et al

in PLoS ONE (2016)

Objective The SCN1A gene, coding for the voltage-gated Na+ channel alpha subunit NaV1.1, is the clinically most relevant epilepsy gene. With the advent of high-throughput next-generation sequencing ... [more ▼]

Objective The SCN1A gene, coding for the voltage-gated Na+ channel alpha subunit NaV1.1, is the clinically most relevant epilepsy gene. With the advent of high-throughput next-generation sequencing, clinical laboratories are generating an ever-increasing catalogue of SCN1A variants. Variants are more likely to be classified as pathogenic if they have already been identified previously in a patient with epilepsy. Here, we critically re-evaluate the pathogenicity of this class of variants in a cohort of patients with common epilepsy syndromes and subsequently ask whether a significant fraction of benign variants have been misclassified as pathogenic. Methods We screened a discovery cohort of 448 patients with a broad range of common genetic epilepsies and 734 controls for previously reported SCN1A mutations that were assumed to be disease causing. We re-evaluated the evidence for pathogenicity of the identified variants using in silico predictions, segregation, original reports, available functional data and assessment of allele frequencies in healthy individuals as well as in a follow up cohort of 777 patients. Results and Interpretation We identified 8 known missense mutations, previously reported as pathogenic, in a total of 17 unrelated epilepsy patients (17/448; 3.80%). Our re-evaluation indicates that 7 out of these 8 variants (p.R27T; p.R28C; p.R542Q; p.R604H; p.T1250M; p.E1308D; p.R1928G; NP_001159435.1) are not pathogenic. Only the p.T1174S mutation may be considered as a genetic risk factor for epilepsy of small effect size based on the enrichment in patients (P = 6.60 x 10−4; OR = 0.32, fishers exact test), previous functional studies but incomplete penetrance. Thus, incorporation of previous studies in genetic counseling of SCN1A sequencing results is challenging and may produce incorrect conclusions. [less ▲]

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See detailRecessive mutations in SLC13A5 result in a loss of citrate transport and cause neonatal epilepsy, developmental delay and teeth hypoplasia
Hardies, Katia; de Kovel, Carolien G.F.; Weckhuysen, Sarah et al

in Brain : A Journal of Neurology (2015)

The epileptic encephalopathies are a clinically and aetiologically heterogeneous subgroup of epilepsy syndromes. Most epileptic encephalopathies have a genetic cause and patients are often found to carry ... [more ▼]

The epileptic encephalopathies are a clinically and aetiologically heterogeneous subgroup of epilepsy syndromes. Most epileptic encephalopathies have a genetic cause and patients are often found to carry a heterozygous de novo mutation in one of the genes associated with the disease entity. Occasionally recessive mutations are identified: a recent publication described a distinct neonatal epileptic encephalopathy (MIM 615905) caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the SLC13A5 gene. Here, we report eight additional patients belonging to four different families with autosomal recessive mutations in SLC13A5. SLC13A5 encodes a high affinity sodium-dependent citrate transporter, which is expressed in the brain. Neurons are considered incapable of de novo synthesis of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates; therefore they rely on the uptake of intermediates, such as citrate, to maintain their energy status and neurotransmitter production. The effect of all seven identified mutations (two premature stops and five amino acid substitutions) was studied in vitro, using immunocytochemistry, selective western blot and mass spectrometry. We hereby demonstrate that cells expressing mutant sodium-dependent citrate transporter have a complete loss of citrate uptake due to various cellular loss-of-function mechanisms. In addition, we provide independent proof of the involvement of autosomal recessive SLC13A5 mutations in the development of neonatal epileptic encephalopathies, and highlight teeth hypoplasia as a possible indicator for SLC13A5 screening. All three patients who tried the ketogenic diet responded well to this treatment, and future studies will allow us to ascertain whether this is a recurrent feature in this severe disorder. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigation of GRIN2A in common epilepsy phenotypes.
Lal, Dennis; Steinbrucker, Sandra; Schubert, Julian et al

in Epilepsy research (2015), 115

Recently, mutations and deletions in the GRIN2A gene have been identified to predispose to benign and severe idiopathic focal epilepsies (IFE), revealing a higher incidence of GRIN2A alterations among the ... [more ▼]

Recently, mutations and deletions in the GRIN2A gene have been identified to predispose to benign and severe idiopathic focal epilepsies (IFE), revealing a higher incidence of GRIN2A alterations among the more severe phenotypes. This study aimed to explore the phenotypic boundaries of GRIN2A mutations by investigating patients with the two most common epilepsy syndromes: (i) idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) and (ii) temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Whole exome sequencing data of 238 patients with IGE as well as Sanger sequencing of 84 patients with TLE were evaluated for GRIN2A sequence alterations. Two additional independent cohorts comprising 1469 IGE and 330 TLE patients were screened for structural deletions (>40kb) involving GRIN2A. Apart from a presumably benign, non-segregating variant in a patient with juvenile absence epilepsy, neither mutations nor deletions were detected in either cohort. These findings suggest that mutations in GRIN2A preferentially are involved in genetic variance of pediatric IFE and do not contribute significantly to either adult focal epilepsies as TLE or generalized epilepsies. [less ▲]

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See detailMutations in STX1B, encoding a presynaptic protein, cause fever-associated epilepsy syndromes
Schubert, Julian; Siekierska, Aleksandra; Langlois, Melanie UL et al

in Nature Genetics (2014), 46(12), 1327-32

Febrile seizures affect 2–4% of all children1 and have a strong genetic component2. Recurrent mutations in three main genes (SCN1A, SCN1B and GABRG2)3, 4, 5 have been identified that cause febrile ... [more ▼]

Febrile seizures affect 2–4% of all children1 and have a strong genetic component2. Recurrent mutations in three main genes (SCN1A, SCN1B and GABRG2)3, 4, 5 have been identified that cause febrile seizures with or without epilepsy. Here we report the identification of mutations in STX1B, encoding syntaxin-1B6, that are associated with both febrile seizures and epilepsy. Whole-exome sequencing in independent large pedigrees7, 8 identified cosegregating STX1B mutations predicted to cause an early truncation or an in-frame insertion or deletion. Three additional nonsense or missense mutations and a de novo microdeletion encompassing STX1B were then identified in 449 familial or sporadic cases. Video and local field potential analyses of zebrafish larvae with antisense knockdown of stx1b showed seizure-like behavior and epileptiform discharges that were highly sensitive to increased temperature. Wild-type human syntaxin-1B but not a mutated protein rescued the effects of stx1b knockdown in zebrafish. Our results thus implicate STX1B and the presynaptic release machinery in fever-associated epilepsy syndromes. [less ▲]

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