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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 detailThe phenotypic spectrum of SCN8A encephalopathy
Larsen, Jan; Carvill, Gemma L.; Gardella, Elena et al

in Neurology (2015), 84(5), 480-489

Objective: SCN8A encodes the sodium channel voltage-gated α8-subunit (Nav1.6). SCN8A mutations have recently been associated with epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders. We aimed to delineate the ... [more ▼]

Objective: SCN8A encodes the sodium channel voltage-gated α8-subunit (Nav1.6). SCN8A mutations have recently been associated with epilepsy and neurodevelopmental disorders. We aimed to delineate the phenotype associated with SCN8A mutations. Methods: We used high-throughput sequence analysis of the SCN8A gene in 683 patients with a range of epileptic encephalopathies. In addition, we ascertained cases with SCN8A mutations from other centers. A detailed clinical history was obtained together with a review of EEG and imaging data. Results: Seventeen patients with de novo heterozygous mutations of SCN8A were studied. Seizure onset occurred at a mean age of 5 months (range: 1 day to 18 months); in general, seizures were not triggered by fever. Fifteen of 17 patients had multiple seizure types including focal, tonic, clonic, myoclonic and absence seizures, and epileptic spasms; seizures were refractory to antiepileptic therapy. Development was normal in 12 patients and slowed after seizure onset, often with regression; 5 patients had delayed development from birth. All patients developed intellectual disability, ranging from mild to severe. Motor manifestations were prominent including hypotonia, dystonia, hyperreflexia, and ataxia. EEG findings comprised moderate to severe background slowing with focal or multifocal epileptiform discharges. Conclusion: SCN8A encephalopathy presents in infancy with multiple seizure types including focal seizures and spasms in some cases. Outcome is often poor and includes hypotonia and movement disorders. The majority of mutations arise de novo, although we observed a single case of somatic mosaicism in an unaffected parent. [less ▲]

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