Publications by authors named "Francesca Ragona"

55 Publications

Paroxysmal tonic upgaze in a child with SCN8A-related encephalopathy.

Epileptic Disord 2021 Aug;23(4):643-647

Department of PediatricNeuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; member of ERN EpiCARE.

Pathogenic variants in the SCN8A gene have been associated with a broad phenotypic spectrum, ranging from benign familial infantile seizures to severe, early-onset developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. This spectrum also includes an "intermediate phenotype" characterized by different degrees of cognitive disability, mild neurological impairment, and therapeutically manageable epilepsy. We report on a child harbouring a de novo, novel SCN8A deletion, whose clinical picture is consistent with an SCN8A-related "intermediate phenotype". This patient's peculiar feature is the occurrence of paroxysmal tonic upgaze (PTU), a non-epileptic disorder consisting of sustained conjugate upward deviation of the eyes, with neck flexion, and downbeat saccades. PTU has been described in otherwise healthy children, as well as in a few genetic syndromes, but has never been observed in SCN8A-related phenotypes. This report, therefore, adds a new symptom to the spectrum of movement disorders associated with SCN8A-related developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. In this short communication, we provide video-EEG documentation of PTU and seizures, and discuss the challenging differential diagnosis between the two symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2021.1305DOI Listing
August 2021

Results From an Italian Expanded Access Program on Cannabidiol Treatment in Highly Refractory Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Front Neurol 2021 20;12:673135. Epub 2021 May 20.

Pediatric Neurology and Epileptology Unit, Brotzu Hospital Trust, Cagliari, Italy.

Purified cannabidiol (CBD) was administered to highly refractory patients with Dravet (DS) or Lennox-Gastaut (LGS) syndromes in an ongoing expanded access program (EAP). Herein, we report interim results on CBD safety and seizure outcomes in patients treated for a 12-month period. Thirty centers were enrolled from December 2018 to December 2019 within the open-label prospective EAP up to a maximum of 25 mg/kg per day. Adverse effects and liver function tests were assessed after 2 weeks; 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment; and periodically thereafter. Seizure endpoints were the percentage of patients with ≥50 and 100% reduction in seizures compared to baseline. A total of 93 patients were enrolled and included in the safety analysis. Eighty-two patients [27 (32.9%) DS, 55 (67.1%) LGS] with at least 3 months of treatment have been included in the effectiveness analysis; median previously failed antiseizure medications was eight. Pediatric and adult patients were uniformly represented in the cohort. At 3-month follow-up, compared to the 28-day baseline period, the percentage of patients with at least a 50% reduction in seizure frequency was 40.2% (plus 1.2% seizure-free). Retention rate was similar according to diagnosis, while we found an increased number of patients remaining under treatment in the adult group. CBD was mostly coadministered with valproic acid (62.2%) and clobazam (41.5%). In the safety dataset, 29 (31.2%) dropped out: reasons were lack of efficacy [16 (17.2%)] and adverse events (AEs) [12 (12.9%)], and one met withdrawal criteria (1.1%). Most reported AEs were somnolence (22.6%) and diarrhea (11.9%), followed by transaminase elevation and loss of appetite. CBD is associated with improved seizure control also in a considerable proportion of highly refractory patients with DS and LGS independently from clobazam use. Overall, CBD safety and effectiveness are not dose-related in this cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2021.673135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173151PMC
May 2021

Severe epilepsy in CNTNAP2-related Pitt-Hopkins-like syndrome successfully treated with stiripentol.

Seizure 2021 05 17;88:143-145. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, full member of ERN EpiCARE, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.04.012DOI Listing
May 2021

Deconstructing Dravet syndrome neurocognitive development: A scoping review.

Epilepsia 2021 04 1;62(4):874-887. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Neuroscience, Section of Rehabilitation, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

Dravet syndrome (DS) is a rare severe epilepsy syndrome associated with slowed psychomotor development and behavioral disorders from the second year onward in a previously seemingly normal child. Among cognitive impairments, visuospatial, sensorimotor integration, and expressive language deficits are consistently reported. There have been independent hypotheses to deconstruct the typical cognitive development in DS (dorsal stream vulnerability, cerebellar-like pattern, sensorimotor integration deficit), but an encompassing framework is still lacking. We performed a scoping review of existing evidence to map the current understanding of DS cognitive and behavioral developmental profiles and to summarize the evidence on suggested frameworks. We searched PubMed, Scopus, PsycInfo, and MEDLINE to identify reports focusing on cognitive deficits and/or behavioral abnormalities in DS published between 1978 and March 15, 2020. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. Twenty-one reports were selected and tabulated by three independent reviewers based on predefined data extraction and eligibility forms. Eighteen reports provided assessments of global intelligence quotients with variable degrees of cognitive impairment. Eleven reports analyzed single subitems contribution to global cognitive scores: these reports showed consistently larger impairment in performance scales compared to verbal ones. Studies assessing specific cognitive functions demonstrated deterioration of early visual processing, fine and gross motor abilities, visuomotor and auditory-motor integration, spatial processing, visuo-attentive abilities, executive functions, and expressive language. Behavioral abnormalities, reported from 14 studies, highlighted autistic-like traits and attention and hyperactivity disorders, slightly improving with age. The cognitive profile in DS and some behavioral and motor abnormalities may be enclosed within a unified theoretical framework of the three main hypotheses advanced: a pervasive sensorimotor integration deficit, encompassing an occipito-parietofrontal circuit (dorsal stream) dysfunction and a coexistent cerebellar deficit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16844DOI Listing
April 2021

Multicenter prospective longitudinal study in 34 patients with Dravet syndrome: Neuropsychological development in the first six years of life.

Brain Dev 2021 Mar 18;43(3):419-430. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.

The objective of this study was to identify developmental trajectories of developmental/behavioral phenotypes and possibly their relationship to epilepsy and genotype by analyzing developmental and behavioral features collected prospectively and longitudinally in a cohort of patients with Dravet syndrome (DS). Thirty-four patients from seven Italian tertiary pediatric neurology centers were enrolled in the study. All patients were examined for the SCN1A gene mutation and prospectively assessed from the first years of life with repeated full clinical observations including neurological and developmental examinations. Subjects were found to follow three neurodevelopmental trajectories. In the first group (16 patients), an initial and usually mild decline was observed between the second and the third year of life, specifically concerning visuomotor abilities, later progressing towards global involvement of all abilities. The second group (12 patients) showed an earlier onset of global developmental impairment, progressing towards a generally worse outcome. The third group of only two patients ended up with a normal neurodevelopmental quotient, but with behavioral and linguistic problems. The remaining four patients were not classifiable due to a lack of critical assessments just before developmental decline. The neurodevelopmental trajectories described in this study suggest a differential contribution of neurobiological and genetic factors. The profile of the first group, which included the largest fraction of patients, suggests that in the initial phase of the disease, visuomotor defects might play a major role in determining developmental decline. Early diagnosis of milder cases with initial visuomotor impairment may therefore provide new tools for a more accurate habilitation strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2020.10.004DOI Listing
March 2021

Efficacy and safety of Fenfluramine hydrochloride for the treatment of seizures in Dravet syndrome: A real-world study.

Epilepsia 2020 11 18;61(11):2405-2414. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Child Neuropsychiatry, Department of Surgical Sciences, Dentistry, Gynecology, and Pediatrics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.

Objective: Dravet syndrome (DS) is a drug-resistant, infantile onset epilepsy syndrome with multiple seizure types and developmental delay. In recently published randomized controlled trials, fenfluramine (FFA) proved to be safe and effective in DS.

Methods: DS patients were treated with FFA in the Zogenix Early Access Program at four Italian pediatric epilepsy centers. FFA was administered as add-on, twice daily at an initial dose of 0.2 mg/kg/d up to 0.7 mg/kg/d. Seizures were recorded in a diary. Adverse events and cardiac safety (with Doppler echocardiography) were investigated every 3 to 6 months.

Results: Fifty-two patients were enrolled, with a median age of 8.6 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 4.1-13.9). Forty-five (86.5%) patients completed the efficacy analysis. The median follow-up was 9.0 months (IQR = 3.2-9.5). At last follow-up visit, there was a 77.4% median reduction in convulsive seizures. Thirty-two patients (71.1%) had a ≥50% reduction of convulsive seizures, 24 (53.3%) had a ≥75% reduction, and five (11.1%) were seizure-free. The most common adverse event was decreased appetite (n = 7, 13.4%). No echocardiographic signs of cardiac valvulopathy or pulmonary hypertension were observed. There was no correlation between type of genetic variants and response to FFA.

Significance: In this real-world study, FFA provided a clinically meaningful reduction in convulsive seizure frequency in the majority of patients with DS and was well tolerated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16690DOI Listing
November 2020

Gabapentin treatment in a patient with KCNQ2 developmental epileptic encephalopathy.

Pharmacol Res 2020 10 15;160:105200. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

De novo variants in KCNQ2 encoding for Kv7.2 voltage-dependent neuronal potassium (K) channel subunits are associated with developmental epileptic encephalopathy (DEE). We herein describe the clinical and electroencephalographic (EEG) features of a child with early-onset DEE caused by the novel KCNQ2 p.G310S variant. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the mutation induces loss-of-function effects on the currents produced by channels incorporating mutant subunits; these effects were counteracted by the selective Kv7 opener retigabine and by gabapentin, a recently described Kv7 activator. Given these data, the patient started treatment with gabapentin, showing a rapid and sustained clinical and EEG improvement over the following months. Overall, these results suggest that gabapentin can be regarded as a precision therapy for DEEs due to KCNQ2 loss-of-function mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2020.105200DOI Listing
October 2020

Cardiac phenotype in -related syndromes: A multicenter cohort study.

Neurology 2020 11 10;95(21):e2866-e2879. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

From the Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy (S.B., S.M.S.), UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London; Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy (S.B., S.M.S.), Bucks, UK; Division of Pediatric Neurology (M.A.M., A.S.H., B.K., M.M., L.P.), Department of Neurobiology, and Division of Cardiology (M.C.), Department of Pediatrics, Duke University, School of Medicine, Durham, NC; Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases (R.A.G.-R., J.P.K.), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust; Institute of Cardiovascular Science(R.A.G.-R., J.P.K.), University College London, London, UK; Child Neuropsychiatry Unit (E.D.G., A.G., L.P., M.S., E.V.), IRCCs Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics and Maternal and Child Health, DINOG-MI, University of Genoa; Department of Pediatric Neuroscience (A.G., T.G., N.N., F.R.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta; Unit of Child Neuropsychiatry (L.P.), ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Milan, Italy; Paediatric Neurology Department (J.C., C.F., L.P.-P., A.A.), Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona University, Member of the International Alternating Hemiplegia in Childhood Research Consortium IAHCRC and of the European Reference Network ERN EpiCARE, Barcelona, Spain; Department of Neurology (A.B., C.M.), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC; Neurology Department (R.S.), Centro Hospitalar e Universitario do Porto-Hospital de Santo António, Porto, Portugal; Clinic for Child Neurology and Psychiatry (V.B., A.P.), Department of Child Neurology, Medical Faculty University of Belgrade, Serbia; Department of Human Genetics (Q.S.P.), Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Pediatric Neurology (J.P.), Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland; Clinical Neurosciences (K.V., J.H.C.), Developmental Neuroscience Programme, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Member of the International Alternating Hemiplegia in Childhood Research Consortium IAHCRC and of the European Reference Network ERN EpiCARE, London, UK; Sydney Children's Hospital (A.M.E.B.), Randwick; Department of Cardiology (A.M.D.), The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, University of Melbourne; Department of Neurology (M.M.R.), Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne; Agnes Ginges Centre for Molecular Cardiology (C.S.), Centenary Institute, University of Sydney; Epilepsy Research Centre (G.H., I.E.S.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Austin Health, Heidelberg, VIC; Department of Paediatrics (I.E.S.), University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Florey and Murdoch Children's Research Institutes, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Clinical Epileptology, Sleep Disorders and Functional Neurology in Children (A.A., E.P.), University Hospitals of Lyon (HCL), Member of the International Alternating Hemiplegia in Childhood Research Consortium IAHCRC and of the European Reference Network ERN EpiCARE, Lyon, France; Paediatric Neurology Unit (I.C.), CMIN, Centro Hospitalar e Universitario Porto, Porto, Portugal; Clinical Neurophysiology Unit (C.Z.), IRCCS "E. Medea," Bosisio Parini (LC), Italy; Department of Neurology (J.N.), CHUV and Université de Lausanne, Switzerland; Second Department of Neurology (K.D.), Institute Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland; Association AHC18+ e. V. (Germany) and Polish Association for People Affected by AHC, ahc-pl (M.P.); Department of Developmental Neurology (M.M.B.), Medical University of Gdańsk, Poland; Neurology Department (S.W.), University Hospital Antwerp; Neurogenetics Group (S.W.), University Antwerp, Belgium; First Department of Pediatrics (R.P.), "Agia Sofia" Children Hospital, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece; Department of Neurology (S.G.), University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany; Ion Channel Research Unit (D.S.S.), Department of Medicine/Cardiology and Pharmacology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; Cardiovascular Research Institute (G.S.P.), Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; The Heart Centre (A.T.), Queen Mary University of London; Department of Pathology (M.A.), Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust; Department of Neuropathology (Z.M., M.T.), Institute of Neurology, University College London, UK; and ICT and Data Analysis Section (R.V.), Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Science and Technology (I.E.ME.S.T.), Palermo, Italy.

Objective: To define the risks and consequences of cardiac abnormalities in -related syndromes.

Methods: Patients meeting clinical diagnostic criteria for rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism (RDP), alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC), and cerebellar ataxia, areflexia, pes cavus, optic atrophy, and sensorineural hearing loss (CAPOS) with genetic analysis and at least 1 cardiac assessment were included. We evaluated the cardiac phenotype in an knock-in mouse (Mashl) to determine the sequence of events in seizure-related cardiac death.

Results: Ninety-eight patients with AHC, 9 with RDP, and 3 with CAPOS (63 female, mean age 17 years) were included. Resting ECG abnormalities were found in 52 of 87 (60%) with AHC, 2 of 3 (67%) with CAPOS, and 6 of 9 (67%) with RDP. Serial ECGs showed dynamic changes in 10 of 18 patients with AHC. The first Holter ECG was abnormal in 24 of 65 (37%) cases with AHC and RDP with either repolarization or conduction abnormalities. Echocardiography was normal. Cardiac intervention was required in 3 of 98 (≈3%) patients with AHC. In the mouse model, resting ECGs showed intracardiac conduction delay; during induced seizures, heart block or complete sinus arrest led to death.

Conclusions: We found increased prevalence of ECG dynamic abnormalities in all -related syndromes, with a risk of life-threatening cardiac rhythm abnormalities equivalent to that in established cardiac channelopathies (≈3%). Sudden cardiac death due to conduction abnormality emerged as a seizure-related outcome in murine -related disease. -related syndromes are cardiac diseases and neurologic diseases. We provide guidance to identify patients potentially at higher risk of sudden cardiac death who may benefit from insertion of a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010794DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7734736PMC
November 2020

Immunotherapy in GRIN2A-negative Landau-Kleffner Syndrome.

Minerva Pediatr 2020 04;72(2):139-141

Unit of Pediatrics, San Paolo Hospital, Savona, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0026-4946.19.05419-7DOI Listing
April 2020

Early Parkinsonism in a Senegalese girl with Lafora disease.

Epileptic Disord 2020 Apr;22(2):233-236

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Member of the ERN EpiCARE, Milano.

We report the atypical presentation of Lafora disease in a Senegalese girl carrying the homozygous variant, c.560A>C, in the NHLRC1 gene. At 13 years, the patient developed myoclonic and visual seizures, progressive psychomotor slowing, and cognitive decline. At 14 years, a neurological examination showed severe hypomimia, bradykinesia, rigidity and low-amplitude myoclonic jerks. Flash-visual and somatosensory evoked potentials showed an increased amplitude of the cortical components, while an electroretinogram showed attenuated responses. An EEG showed diffuse polyspikes associated with positive-negative jerks as well as posterior slow waves and irregular spikes. The electroclinical picture suggested the diagnosis of Lafora disease regarding the association of visual seizures, cognitive deterioration, and action myoclonus, together with the EEG and evoked potential findings. Two uncommon findings were the prominence of extrapyramidal signs in the early stage of disease (which are rarely reported) and attenuation of electroretinal responses. We consider that Lafora disease should be included in the diagnostic work-up for juvenile Parkinsonism, when associated with epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/epd.2020.1150DOI Listing
April 2020

Dravet syndrome: Early electroclinical findings and long-term outcome in adolescents and adults.

Epilepsia 2019 12;60 Suppl 3:S49-S58

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, member of ERN EpiCare, Milan, Italy.

To describe the outcome of Dravet syndrome (DS) in adolescents and adults we conducted a longitudinal retrospective study of two independent cohorts of 34 adolescents (group 1) and 50 adults (group 2). In both cohorts, we collected information about genetic mutation, and semiology of seizures at onset and during disease course. At the last evaluation, we considered the following features: epilepsy (distinguishing myoclonic/complete and nonmyoclonic/incomplete phenotype), neurologic signs, intellectual disability (ID), and behavioral disorders. Moreover, in both cohorts, we performed a correlation analysis between early characteristics of the disease and the outcome of DS with regard to seizure persistence, ID, behavioral disorder, and neurologic impairment at last evaluation. Group 1 includes 22 adolescents with complete form of DS and 12 with incomplete form; group 2 includes 35 adults with complete form and 15 with incomplete form. The seizures persisted in 73.6% of adolescents and in 80% of adults, but epilepsy severity progressively decreased through age. Seizure persistence correlated with the complete phenotype and with the occurrence of reflex seizures. At last evaluation, ID was moderate or severe in 70.5% of adolescents and in 80% of adults. The most severe cognitive and motor impairment was observed in patients with persisting seizures. The severity of cognition, language, and neurologic impairment at last evaluation correlated statistically with the complete phenotype. The study confirms that the global outcome of DS is poor in most cases, albeit epilepsy severity decreases throughout adulthood. The improvement of epilepsy throughout ages is not associated with improvement in intellectual abilities and motor skills; this confirms that the unfavorable outcome is not a pure consequence of epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.16297DOI Listing
December 2019

Gait abnormalities in people with Dravet syndrome: A cross-sectional multi-center study.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2019 Nov 21;23(6):808-818. Epub 2019 Sep 21.

Laboratory of Clinical Analysis and Biomechanics of Movement, University Hospital of Padova, Padova, Italy; NEUROMOVE-Rehab, Department of Neuroscience, University of Padova, Padova, Italy; PNC, Padova Neuroscience Center, Padova, Italy.

Objective: To quantify gait abnormalities in people with Dravet syndrome (DS).

Methods: Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of DS were enrolled, and stratified according to knee flexion at initial contact (IC) and range of motion (ROM) during stance (atypical crouch: knee flexion >20° at IC and knee ROM >15° during stance; straight: knee flexion <20° at IC). A 1D ANOVA (α = 0.05) was used to test statistical differences among the joint kinematics and spatio-temporal parameters of the cohort and an age-matched control group. Clinical (neurological and orthopaedic evaluation) and anamnestic data (seizure type, drugs, genetic mutation) were collected; distribution between the two gait phenotypes was assessed with the Fisher exact test and, for mutation, with the chi-squared test (p < 0.05). Linear regression between maximum knee flexion and normalised walking speed was calculated.

Results: Seventy-one subjects were enrolled and evaluated with instrumented gait analysis. Fifty-two were included in final analysis (mean age 13.8 ± 7.3; M 26). Two gait patterns were detected: an atypical crouch gait (34.6%) with increased ankle, knee and hip flexion during stance, and reduced walking speed and stride length not associated with muscle-tendon retractions; and a pattern resembling those of healthy age-matched controls, but still showing reduced walking speed and stride length. No differences in clinical or anamnestic data emerged between the two groups.

Significance: Objectively quantified gait in DS shows two gait patterns with no clear-cut relation to clinical data. Kinematics abnormalities may be related to stabilization issues. These findings may guide rehabilitative and preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2019.09.010DOI Listing
November 2019

An Italian multicentre study of perampanel in progressive myoclonus epilepsies.

Epilepsy Res 2019 10 16;156:106191. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

Neurophysiopathology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Perampanel (PER) is a novel anti-seizure medication useful in different types of epilepsy. We intended to assess the effectiveness of PER on cortical myoclonus and seizure frequency in patients with progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME), using quantitative validated scales. Forty-nine patients aged 36.6 ± 15.6 years with PME of various aetiology (18 EPM1, 12 EPM2, five with sialidosis, one with Kufs disease, one with EPM7, and 12 undetermined) were enrolled between January 2017 and June 2018. PER at the dose of 2-12 mg (5.3 ± 2.5) was added to existing therapy. Myoclonus severity was assessed using a minimal myoclonus scale (MMS) in all the patients before and after 4-6 months of steady PER dose, and by means of the Unified Myoclonus Rating Scale (UMRS) in 20 patients. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify the factors potentially predicting treatment efficacy. Four patients dropped out in the first two months due to psychiatric side effects. In the remaining patients, PER reduced myoclonus severity as assessed using MMS (Wilcoxon test: p < 0.001) and UMRS (p < 0.001), with the 'Action myoclonus' section of the UMRS showing the greatest improvement. The patients with EPM1 or EPM1-like phenotype were more likely to improve with PER (p = 0.011). Convulsive seizures which have recurred at least monthly in 17 patients were reduced by >50%. Side effects occurred in 22/49 (44.8%) patients, the most common being irritability followed by drowsiness. PER is effective in treating myoclonus and seizures in PME patients. The frequency of psychiatric side effects suggests the need for careful patient monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2019.106191DOI Listing
October 2019

Early clinical and EEG findings associated with the outcome in childhood absence epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav 2019 09 13;98(Pt A):273-278. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Neurofisiopatologia ed Epilettologia Diagnostica, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate several clinical electroencephalogram (EEG) findings possibly predicting the early response to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and the late outcome in children with clinical EEG features fitting the syndromic diagnosis of childhood absence epilepsy (CAE).

Methods: In 117 untreated patients with typical absences, we analyzed clinical EEG features, and resting EEG activity using partial directed coherence to calculate out- and inflow of cortical oscillations in different regions of interest.

Results: Absences began before 4 years in 12.0%, at 4-9.5 years in 71.8%, and at 10-13 years in 16.2% of the cases. Valproate was started in 91 patients and ethosuximide in 27. With one of AEDs, 77.8% reached seizure control, while the remaining patients needed to switch to the alternative AED. Only 5.9% patients remained drug-resistant. Absences with simple automatisms were the only feature associated with a lack of response to the first AED. Connectivity analysis of resting EEGs showed increased frontal outflow in patients compared with controls, which was significantly greater in the nonresponders to the first AED than in responders. Among the 91 patients followed for 61.2 ± 31.7 months, 14.2% relapsed after a seizure-free period, without differences between the responders to the first or second AED.

Conclusions: The assessment of electroclinical features provided only minimal prognostic indices. The enhanced outflow of frontal oscillations suggests a circuitry dysfunction significantly greater in the nonresponder to the early treatment. Seizure relapses were rare and comparable in patients who reached seizure freedom with first or second AED, indicating that the resistance to one AED does not influence the outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2019.06.040DOI Listing
September 2019

Relapse risk factors in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis.

Dev Med Child Neurol 2019 09 7;61(9):1101-1107. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Paediatric Neurology and Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Women's and Children's Health, University Hospital of Padua, Padua, Italy.

Aim: To identify factors that may predict and affect the risk of relapse in anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis.

Method: This was a retrospective study of an Italian cohort of patients with paediatric (≤18y) onset anti-NMDAR encephalitis.

Results: Of the 62 children included (39 females; median age at onset 9y 10mo, range 1y 2mo-18y; onset between 2005 and 2018), 21 per cent relapsed (median two total events per relapsing patient, range 2-4). Time to first relapse was median 31.5 months (range 7-89mo). Severity at first relapse was lower than onset (median modified Rankin Scale [mRS] 3, range 2-4, vs median mRS 5, range 3-5; admission to intensive care unit: 0/10 vs 3/10). At the survival analysis, the risk of relapsing was significantly lower in patients who received three or more different immune therapies at first disease event (hazard ratio 0.208, 95% confidence interval 0.046-0.941; p=0.042). Neurological outcome at follow-up did not differ significantly between patients with relapsing and monophasic disease (mRS 0-1 in 39/49 vs 12/13; p=0.431), although follow-up duration was significantly longer in relapsing (median 84mo, range 14-137mo) than in monophasic patients (median 32mo, range 4-108mo; p=0.002).

Interpretation: Relapses may occur in about one-fifth of children with anti-NMDAR encephalitis, are generally milder than at onset, and may span over a long period, although they do not seem to be associated with severity in the acute phase or with outcome at follow-up. Aggressive immune therapy at onset may reduce risk of relapse.

What This Paper Adds: Relapses of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor encephalitis may span over a long period. Relapses were not associated with severity in the acute phase or outcome at follow-up. Aggressive immune therapy at onset appears to decrease risk of relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.14267DOI Listing
September 2019

Epileptic phenotypes in children with early-onset mitochondrial diseases.

Acta Neurol Scand 2019 Sep 6;140(3):184-193. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of epilepsy in children with early-onset mitochondrial diseases (MDs) and to evaluate the epileptic phenotypes and associated features.

Materials And Methods: Children affected by MD with onset during the first year of life were enrolled. Patients were classified according to their mitochondrial phenotype, and all findings in patients with epilepsy versus patients without were compared. The epileptic features were analyzed.

Results: The series includes 129 patients (70 females) with median age at disease onset of 3 months. The median time of follow-up was 5 years. Non-syndromic mitochondrial encephalopathy and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency were the main mitochondrial diseases associated with epilepsy (P < 0.05). Seizures occurred in 48%, and the presence of epilepsy was significantly associated with earlier age at disease onset, presence of perinatal manifestations, and early detection of developmental delay and regression (P < 0.001). Epileptic encephalopathy (EE) with spasms and EE with prominent focal seizures were the most detected epileptic syndromes (37% and 27.4%). Several seizure types were recorded in 53.2%, with the unusual association of generalized and focal epileptic pattern. Disabling epilepsy was detected in 63% and was associated with early seizure onset, presence of several seizure types, epileptic syndrome featuring EE, and the recurrence of episodes of status epilepticus and epilepsia partialis continua (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Epilepsy in children with early-onset MD may be a presenting or a prominent symptom in a multisystemic clinical presentation. Epilepsy-related factors could determine a worst seizure outcome, leading to a more severe burned of the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13130DOI Listing
September 2019

HCN ion channels and accessory proteins in epilepsy: genetic analysis of a large cohort of patients and review of the literature.

Epilepsy Res 2019 07 8;153:49-58. Epub 2019 Apr 8.

Unit of Genetics of Neurodegenerative and Metabolic Diseases, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

The Hyperpolarization-activated Cyclic Nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels are highly expressed in the Central Nervous Systems, where they are responsible for the I current. Together with specific accessory proteins, these channels finely regulate neuronal excitability and discharge activity. In the last few years, a substantial body of evidence has been gathered showing that modifications of I can play an important role in the pathogenesis of epilepsy. However, the extent to which HCN dysfunction is spread among the epileptic population is still unknown. The aim of this work is to evaluate the impact of genetic mutations potentially affecting the HCN channels' activity, using a NGS approach. We screened a large cohort of patients with epilepsy of unknown etiology for mutations in HCN1, HCN2 and HCN4 and in genes coding for accessory proteins (MiRP1, Filamin A, Caveolin-3, TRIP8b, Tamalin, S-SCAM and Mint2). We confirmed the presence of specific mutations of HCN genes affecting channel function and predisposing to the development of the disease. We also found several previously unreported additional genetic variants, whose contribution to the phenotype remains to be clarified. According to these results and data from literature, alteration of HCN1 channel function seems to play a major role in epilepsy, but also dysfunctional HCN2 and HCN4 channels can predispose to the development of the disease. Our findings suggest that inclusion of the genetic screening of HCN channels in diagnostic procedures of epileptic patients should be recommended. This would help pave the way for a better understanding of the role played by I dysfunction in the pathogenesis of epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2019.04.004DOI Listing
July 2019

Screening of SLC2A1 in a large cohort of patients suspected for Glut1 deficiency syndrome: identification of novel variants and associated phenotypes.

J Neurol 2019 Jun 20;266(6):1439-1448. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Glucose transporter type 1 deficiency syndrome (Glut1 DS) is a rare neurological disorder caused by impaired glucose delivery to the brain. The clinical spectrum of Glut1 DS mainly includes epilepsy, paroxysmal dyskinesia (PD), developmental delay and microcephaly. Glut1 DS diagnosis is based on the identification of hypoglycorrhachia and pathogenic mutations of the SLC2A1 gene. Here, we report the molecular screening of SLC2A1 in 354 patients clinically suspected for Glut1 DS. From this cohort, we selected 245 patients for whom comprehensive clinical and laboratory data were available. Among them, we identified 19 patients carrying nucleotide variants of pathological significance, 5 of which were novel. The symptoms of onset, which varied from neonatal to adult age, included epilepsy, PD or non-epileptic paroxysmal manifestations. The comparison of the clinical features between the 19 SLC2A1 mutated and the 226 non-mutated patients revealed that the onset of epilepsy within the first year of life (when associated with developmental delay or other neurological manifestations), the association of epilepsy with PD and acquired microcephaly are more common in mutated subjects. Taken together, these data confirm the variability of expression of the phenotypes associated with mutation of SLC2A1 and provide useful clinical tools for the early identification of subjects highly suspected for the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-019-09280-6DOI Listing
June 2019

Progressive myoclonus epilepsy caused by a gain-of-function KCNA2 mutation.

Seizure 2019 Feb 8;65:106-108. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

Neurophysiopathology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; Department of Neurology, San Gerardo Hospital, School of Medicine and Surgery, Milan Center for Neuroscience (NeuroMi), University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2019.01.005DOI Listing
February 2019

Defining the electroclinical phenotype and outcome of PCDH19-related epilepsy: A multicenter study.

Epilepsia 2018 12 19;59(12):2260-2271. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Epilepsy Center, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Objective: PCDH19-related epilepsy is an epileptic syndrome with infantile onset, characterized by clustered and fever-induced seizures, often associated with intellectual disability (ID) and autistic features. The aim of this study was to analyze a large cohort of patients with PCDH19-related epilepsy and better define the epileptic phenotype, genotype-phenotype correlations, and related outcome-predicting factors.

Methods: We retrospectively collected genetic, clinical, and electroencephalogram (EEG) data of 61 patients with PCDH19-related epilepsy followed at 15 epilepsy centers. All consecutively performed EEGs were analyzed, totaling 551. We considered as outcome measures the development of ID, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), and seizure persistence. The analyzed variables were the following: gender, age at onset, age at study, genetic variant, fever sensitivity, seizure type, cluster occurrence, status epilepticus, EEG abnormalities, and cognitive and behavioral disorders. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to evaluate the age at which seizures might decrease in frequency.

Results: At last follow-up (median = 12 years, range = 1.9-42.1 years), 48 patients (78.7%) had annual seizures/clusters, 13 patients (21.3%) had monthly to weekly seizures, and 12 patients (19.7%) were seizure-free for ≥2 years. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed a significant decrease of seizure frequency after the age of 10.5 years (sensitivity = 81.0%, specificity = 70.0%). Thirty-six patients (59.0%) had ID and behavioral disturbances. ASD was present in 31 patients. An earlier age at epilepsy onset emerged as the only predictive factor for ID (P = 0.047) and ASD (P = 0.014). Conversely, age at onset was not a predictive factor for seizure outcome (P = 0.124).

Significance: We found that earlier age at epilepsy onset is related to a significant risk for ID and ASD. Furthermore, long-term follow-up showed that after the age of 10 years, seizures decrease in frequency and cognitive and behavioral disturbances remain the primary clinical problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.14600DOI Listing
December 2018

HCN1 mutation spectrum: from neonatal epileptic encephalopathy to benign generalized epilepsy and beyond.

Brain 2018 11;141(11):3160-3178

Neuropediatric Department, Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels control neuronal excitability and their dysfunction has been linked to epileptogenesis but few individuals with neurological disorders related to variants altering HCN channels have been reported so far. In 2014, we described five individuals with epileptic encephalopathy due to de novo HCN1 variants. To delineate HCN1-related disorders and investigate genotype-phenotype correlations further, we assembled a cohort of 33 unpublished patients with novel pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants: 19 probands carrying 14 different de novo mutations and four families with dominantly inherited variants segregating with epilepsy in 14 individuals, but not penetrant in six additional individuals. Sporadic patients had epilepsy with median onset at age 7 months and in 36% the first seizure occurred during a febrile illness. Overall, considering familial and sporadic patients, the predominant phenotypes were mild, including genetic generalized epilepsies and genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) spectrum. About 20% manifested neonatal/infantile onset otherwise unclassified epileptic encephalopathy. The study also included eight patients with variants of unknown significance: one adopted patient had two HCN1 variants, four probands had intellectual disability without seizures, and three individuals had missense variants inherited from an asymptomatic parent. Of the 18 novel pathogenic missense variants identified, 12 were associated with severe phenotypes and clustered within or close to transmembrane domains, while variants segregating with milder phenotypes were located outside transmembrane domains, in the intracellular N- and C-terminal parts of the channel. Five recurrent variants were associated with similar phenotypes. Using whole-cell patch-clamp, we showed that the impact of 12 selected variants ranged from complete loss-of-function to significant shifts in activation kinetics and/or voltage dependence. Functional analysis of three different substitutions altering Gly391 revealed that these variants had different consequences on channel biophysical properties. The Gly391Asp variant, associated with the most severe, neonatal phenotype, also had the most severe impact on channel function. Molecular dynamics simulation on channel structure showed that homotetramers were not conducting ions because the permeation path was blocked by cation(s) strongly complexed to the Asp residue, whereas heterotetramers showed an instantaneous current component possibly linked to deformation of the channel pore. In conclusion, our results considerably expand the clinical spectrum related to HCN1 variants to include common generalized epilepsy phenotypes and further illustrate how HCN1 has a pivotal function in brain development and control of neuronal excitability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awy263DOI Listing
November 2018

Network characteristics in benign epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes patients indicating defective connectivity during spindle sleep: A partial directed coherence study of EEG signals.

Clin Neurophysiol 2018 11 21;129(11):2372-2379. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Department of Neurophysiopathology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Via Celoria 11, 20133 Milano, Italy.

Objective: To investigate the changes in EEG connectivity in children with the typical presentation of benign epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes (BECTS).

Methods: We compared awake and spindle-sleep EEG recordings obtained by a standard electrode array in patients with lateralised (10 Right, 9 Left-BECTS) or bilateral spikes (10 MF-BECTS) and in 17 age-matched controls. We analysed EEG activity using partial directed coherence, an estimator of connectivity based on the multivariate autoregressive models and calculated in- and out-degrees, strength, clustering coefficient and betweenness centrality.

Results: In comparison with the controls, the awake EEG recordings of the patients with lateralised BECTS showed a minimal increase in out-degrees on F4 and F3. The greater differences, found during sleep, included significant reductions in both in- and out-degrees and strength in all of the patient groups, but in T4 or T3 showing increased out-degrees and strength in Right and Left-BECTS. Betweenness centrality was significantly reduced on C3 and C4 in the patients with MF-BECTS.

Conclusions: Our observations suggest that the main finding in BECTS patients is widely reduced local connectivity.

Significance: The network changes in BECTS can be interpreted as a permissive condition occurring in a developmental window that predisposes to seizure generation during spindle-sleep.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2018.09.008DOI Listing
November 2018

A Loss-of-Function Mutation Associated With Familial Benign Myoclonic Epilepsy in Infancy Causes Increased Neuronal Excitability.

Front Mol Neurosci 2018 6;11:269. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Molecular Physiology and Neurobiology, The PaceLab, Department of Biosciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.

HCN channels are highly expressed and functionally relevant in neurons and increasing evidence demonstrates their involvement in the etiology of human epilepsies. Among HCN isoforms, HCN4 is important in cardiac tissue, where it underlies pacemaker activity. Despite being expressed also in deep structures of the brain, mutations of this channel functionally shown to be associated with epilepsy have not been reported yet. Using Next Generation Sequencing for the screening of patients with idiopathic epilepsy, we identified the p.Arg550Cys (c.1648C>T) heterozygous mutation on in two brothers affected by benign myoclonic epilepsy of infancy. Functional characterization in heterologous expression system and in neurons showed that the mutation determines a loss of function of HCN4 contribution to activity and an increase of neuronal discharge, potentially predisposing to epilepsy. Expressed in cardiomyocytes, mutant channels activate at slightly more negative voltages than wild-type (WT), in accordance with borderline bradycardia. While HCN4 variants have been frequently associated with cardiac arrhythmias, these data represent the first experimental evidence that functional alteration of HCN4 can also be involved in human epilepsy through a loss-of-function effect and associated increased neuronal excitability. Since HCN4 appears to be highly expressed in deep brain structures only early during development, our data provide a potential explanation for a link between dysfunctional HCN4 and infantile epilepsy. These findings suggest that it may be useful to include screening to extend the knowledge of the genetic causes of infantile epilepsies, potentially paving the way for the identification of innovative therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2018.00269DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6089338PMC
August 2018

Electroclinical features of epilepsy monosomy 1p36 syndrome and their implications.

Acta Neurol Scand 2018 Dec 14;138(6):523-530. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Pediatric Neurology and Muscular Diseases Unit, Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, 'G. Gaslini' Institute, University of Genoa, Genova, Italy.

Objectivies: Monosomy 1p36 syndrome is a recognized syndrome with multiple congenital anomalies; medical problems of this syndrome include developmental delay, facial dysmorphisms, hearing loss, short stature, brain anomalies, congenital heart defects. Epilepsy can be another feature but there are few data about the types of seizures and long term prognosis. The aim of this work was to analyse the electroclinical phenotype and the long-term outcome in patients with monosomy 1p36 syndrome and epilepsy.

Materials And Methods: Data of 22 patients with monosomy 1p36 syndrome and epilepsy were reconstructed by reviewing medical records. For each patient we analysed age at time of diagnosis, first signs of the syndrome, age at seizure onset, seizure type and its frequency, EEG and neuroimaging findings, the response to antiepileptic drugs treatment and clinical outcome up to the last follow-up assessment.

Results: Infantile Spasm (IS) represents the most frequent type at epilepsy onset, which occurs in 36.4% of children, and a half of these were associated with hypsarrhythmic electroencephalogram. All patients with IS had persistence of seizures, unlike other patients with different seizures onset. Children with abnormal brain neuroimaging have a greater chance to develop pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Conclusion: This syndrome represents a significant cause of IS: these patients, who develop IS, can suffer from pharmacoresistent epilepsy, that is more frequent in children with brain abnormalities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ane.13006DOI Listing
December 2018

A novel de novo HCN1 loss-of-function mutation in genetic generalized epilepsy causing increased neuronal excitability.

Neurobiol Dis 2018 10 21;118:55-63. Epub 2018 Jun 21.

Dept. of Biosciences, The PaceLab, University of Milano, Milano, Italy.

The causes of genetic epilepsies are unknown in the majority of patients. HCN ion channels have a widespread expression in neurons and increasing evidence demonstrates their functional involvement in human epilepsies. Among the four known isoforms, HCN1 is the most expressed in the neocortex and hippocampus and de novo HCN1 point mutations have been recently associated with early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. So far, HCN1 mutations have not been reported in patients with idiopathic epilepsy. Using a Next Generation Sequencing approach, we identified the de novo heterozygous p.Leu157Val (c.469C > G) novel mutation in HCN1 in an adult male patient affected by genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE), with normal cognitive development. Electrophysiological analysis in heterologous expression model (CHO cells) and in neurons revealed that L157V is a loss-of-function, dominant negative mutation causing reduced HCN1 contribution to net inward current and responsible for an increased neuronal firing rate and excitability, potentially predisposing to epilepsy. These data represent the first evidence that autosomal dominant missense mutations of HCN1 can also be involved in GGE, without the characteristics of epileptic encephalopathy reported previously. It will be important to include HCN1 screening in patients with GGE, in order to extend the knowledge of the genetic causes of idiopathic epilepsies, thus paving the way for the identification of innovative therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2018.06.012DOI Listing
October 2018

Pediatric NMDAR encephalitis: A single center observation study with a closer look at movement disorders.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2018 Mar 1;22(2):301-307. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Department of Pediatric Neuroscience, Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute "C. Besta", Milan, Italy.

Anti-N-Methyl-d-aspartate-receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis is the most frequent autoimmune encephalitis in pediatric age. This retrospective observational study was aimed at describing the clinical characteristics of the disease in a cohort of children and teenagers. Eighteen patients (10 females and 8 males), with a median age of 12.4 years at symptom onset were enrolled. The clinical presentation of the disease was marked by neurological manifestations in 13 patients and by severe psychiatric and behavioral symptoms in 5. The symptoms at onset varied according to the age: all the children presented with prominent neurological symptoms, whereas psychiatric symptoms were prominent in teenagers. Regardless the age, movement disorders (MDs) were distinctive symptoms during the acute stage of the disease. Several MDs might coexist in a given patient, and persist during sleep. The complexity, and the oddness of MDs often challenged their definition and the differential diagnosis with psychiatric manifestations and epileptic seizures. Stereotyped motor phenomena were the most typical MDs, and were recorded in all patients. Among them, perseveration, reproduction of acquired complex motor activities, and orofacial dyskinesia were the most distinctive features. In children, hyperkinetic MDs dominate; in teenagers, by contrast, a constellation of symptoms consistent with catatonia was the most frequent syndrome observed. The management of the several symptoms requires their accurate recognition, definition and assessment, and the knowledge of the potential side effects of antiepileptic and psychotropic drugs which could either mimic or worsen symptoms of encephalitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2018.01.012DOI Listing
March 2018

Kv7.3 Compound Heterozygous Variants in Early Onset Encephalopathy Reveal Additive Contribution of C-Terminal Residues to PIP-Dependent K Channel Gating.

Mol Neurobiol 2018 Aug 30;55(8):7009-7024. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Department of Medicine and Health Science, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.

Over one hundred mutations in the Kv7.2 (KCNQ2) gene encoding for phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP)-sensitive voltage-gated K channel subunits have been identified in early-onset epilepsies with wide phenotypic variability. By contrast, only few mutations in the closely related Kv7.3 (KCNQ3) gene have been reported, mostly associated with typical benign familial neonatal seizures (BFNS). We herein describe a patient affected by early onset epileptic encephalopathy (EOEE) carrying two Kv7.3 missense mutations (p.Val359Leu/V359L and p.Asp542Asn/D542N) in compound heterozygosis, each inherited from an asymptomatic parent. Patch-clamp recordings from transiently transfected CHO cells showed that, when incorporated in physiologically relevant Kv7.2 + Kv7.3 heteromeric channels, expression of Kv7.3 V359L or Kv7.3 D542N subunits failed to affect current density, whereas a significant decrease was instead observed when these mutant subunits were both simultaneously present. Modeling and functional experiments revealed that each variant decreased PIP-dependent current regulation, with additive effects when the two were co-expressed. Moreover, expression of Kv7.2 subunits carrying the D535N variant previously described in three sporadic EOEE cases prompted functional changes more dramatic when compared to those of the corresponding D542N variant in Kv7.3, but similar to those observed when both Kv7.3 V359L and Kv7.3 D542N subunits were expressed together. Finally, the Kv7 activator retigabine restored channel dysfunction induced by each Kv7.2 or Kv7.3 variant(s). These results provide a plausible molecular explanation for the apparent recessive inheritance of the phenotype in the family investigated, and a rational basis for personalized therapy with Kv7 channel activators in EOEE patients carrying loss-of-function mutations in Kv7.2 or Kv7.3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-0883-5DOI Listing
August 2018

ATP1A3-related disorders: An update.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2018 Mar 21;22(2):257-263. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Department of Pediatric Neurology, IRCCS Foundation Carlo Besta Neurological Institute, Via Celoria 11, 20131 Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC), Rapid-onset Dystonia Parkinsonism (RDP) and CAPOS syndrome (cerebellar ataxia, areflexia, pes cavus, optic atrophy, and sensorineural hearing loss) are three distinct, yet partially overlapping clinical syndromes that have long been thought to be allelic disorders. From 2004 to 2012, both autosomal dominant and de novo mutations in ATP1A3 have been detected in patients affected by these three conditions. Growing evidence suggests that AHC, RDP and CAPOS syndrome are part of a large and continuously expanding clinical spectrum and share some recurrent clinical features, such as abrupt-onset, asymmetric anatomical distribution and the presence of triggering factors, which are highly suggestive of ATP1A3 mutations. In this review, we will highlight the main clinical and genetic features of ATP1A3-related disorders focussing on shared and distinct features that can be helpful in clinical practice to individuate mutation carriers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2017.12.009DOI Listing
March 2018

Epileptic spikes in Rasmussen's encephalitis: Migratory pattern and short-term evolution. A MEG study.

Clin Neurophysiol 2017 10 28;128(10):1898-1905. Epub 2017 Jul 28.

Neurophysiopathology Department and Epilepsy Centre, IRCCS Foundation, Milan, Italy.

Objective: We aimed this study at identifying cortical areas involved in the generation of interictal spikes in Rasmussen's Encephalitis (RE) patients using magnetoencephalography (MEG), at comparing spike localization with the degree of cortical atrophy detected by MRI, and at identifying short-term changes during the follow-up.

Methods: Five patients with RE underwent two MEG and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (six months interval). The sources of visually detected spikes were estimated using equivalent current dipoles technique; these were then superimposed on individual MRI and clustered; the locations of the clusters were related to the MRI stage of cortical atrophy.

Results: All patients showed spikes and clusters located in different cortical areas in both recordings; the locations had a limited correspondence with cortical atrophy. The second recordings showed changes in the localisation of spikes and clusters, and confirmed the dissimilarities with neuroradiological abnormalities.

Conclusions: The presence of clusters of spikes of variable localisation suggests that RE progresses in a multifocal and fluctuating manner. The cortical areas most involved in epileptogenesis did not completely coincide with the most atrophic areas.

Significance: MEG can contribute to evaluating multifocal hemispheric spikes in RE and to better understand the time course of epileptogenic process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2017.07.401DOI Listing
October 2017
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