Publications by authors named "Hannah Stamberger"

18 Publications

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KCNT1-related epilepsies and epileptic encephalopathies: phenotypic and mutational spectrum.

Brain 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Pediatric Neurology Department, Lyon University Hospital, 69500 Bron, France.

Variants in KCNT1, encoding a sodium-gated potassium channel (subfamily T member 1), have been associated with a spectrum of epilepsies and neurodevelopmental disorders. These range from familial autosomal dominant or sporadic sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy ((AD)SHE) to epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures (EIMFS) and include developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE). This study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the phenotypic and genotypic spectrum of KCNT1 mutation-related epileptic disorders in 248 individuals, including 66 unpreviously published and 182 published cases, the largest cohort reported so far. Four phenotypic groups emerged from our analysis: i) EIMFS (152 individuals, 33 previously unpublished); ii) DEE other than EIMFS (non-EIMFS DEE) (37 individuals, 17 unpublished); iii) (AD)SHE (53 patients, 14 unpublished); iv) other phenotypes (6 individuals, 2 unpublished). In our cohort of 66 new cases, the most common phenotypic features were: a) in EIMFS, heterogeneity of seizure types, including epileptic spasms, epilepsy improvement over time, no epilepsy-related deaths; b) in non-EIMFS DEE, possible onset with West syndrome, occurrence of atypical absences, possible evolution to DEE with SHE features; one case of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP); c) in (AD)SHE, we observed a high prevalence of drug-resistance, although seizure frequency improved with age in some individuals, appearance of cognitive regression after seizure onset in all patients, no reported severe psychiatric disorders, although behavioural/psychiatric comorbidities were reported in about 50% of the patients, SUDEP in one individual; d) other phenotypes in individuals with mutation of KCNT1 included temporal lobe epilepsy, and epilepsy with tonic-clonic seizures and cognitive regression. Genotypic analysis of the whole cohort of 248 individuals showed only missense mutations and one inframe deletion in KCNT1. Although the KCNT1 mutations in affected individuals were seen to be distributed among the different domains of the KCNT1 protein, genotype-phenotype considerations showed many of the (AD)SHE-associated mutations to be clustered around the RCK2 domain in the C-terminus, distal to the NADP domain. Mutations associated with EIMFS/non-EIMFS DEE did not show a particular pattern of distribution in the KCNT1 protein. Recurrent KCNT1 mutations were seen to be associated with both severe and less severe phenotypes. Our study further defines and broadens the phenotypic and genotypic spectrums of KCNT1-related epileptic conditions and emphasizes the increasingly important role of this gene in the pathogenesis of early onset DEEs as well as in focal epilepsies, namely (AD)SHE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab219DOI Listing
June 2021

Mutations Expand the Phenotypic Spectrum of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood.

Neurology 2021 03 27;96(11):e1539-e1550. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

From the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (S.Z., S.K., L.H.-H., H.M.C., S.M.S.), London; Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy (S.Z., S.K., H.M.C., S.M.S.), Buckinghamshire; Department of Neurology (D.S., A.V., J.H.C., M.A.K.), Great Ormond Street Hospital; Clinical Neurosciences (A.V., J.H.C.), and Neurogenetics Group (D.S., M.A.K.), Developmental Neurosciences NIHR BRC UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London; School of Life Sciences (S.K.), Faculty of Science and Engineering, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK; Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology (K.M.G., M.D.K., B.J.L.), Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street, Dublin 1; School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (K.M.G., M.D.K.), University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; Danish Epilepsy Centre (R.S.M., T.B.H.), Dianalund; Department of Regional Health Research (R.S.M.), University of Southern Denmark, Odense; Department of Paediatric Neurology (R.S., A.A.M., A.M.), Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, UK; Pediatric Neurology (W.F.), Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne; Institute of Human Genetics (T.B.), University of Leipzig Medical Center, Germany; Departement de Neuropediatrie (D.D.), Centre de Référence Neurogénetique Mouvements Anormaux, Hôpital Armand Trousseau, and Department of Genetics (B.K., C.M.), La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, APHP, Sorbonne University, Paris; Centre de Référence Déficiences Intellectuelles de Causes Rares (C.M.); Departement de Pediatrie (N.B.), American Memorial Hospital, CHU Reims; CReSTIC (N.B.), University of Reims Champagne-Ardennes, France; University of Bristol (A.A.M.); Department of Haematology (A.S.-J.) and Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (F.L.R.), University of Cambridge; NIHR BioResource (A.S.-J., F.L.R.), Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Paediatric Neurology (A.B.), Great North Childrens Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne; Population Health Sciences Institute (A.B.), Newcastle University, UK; Applied & Translational Genomics Group (H.S., S.W.), VIB-Center for Molecular Neurology, University of Antwerp; and Department of Neurology (H.S., S.W.), University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium.

Objective: To explore the phenotypic spectrum of -related disorders and specifically to determine whether patients fulfill criteria for alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC), we report the clinical features of 11 affected individuals.

Methods: Individuals with -related disorders were identified through a movement disorder clinic at a specialist pediatric center, with additional cases identified through collaboration with other centers internationally. Clinical data were acquired through retrospective case-note review.

Results: Eleven affected patients were identified. All had heterozygous missense variants involving exon 9 of , confirmed as de novo in 9 cases. All had a complex motor phenotype, including at least 2 different kinds of movement disorder, e.g., ataxia and dystonia. Many patients demonstrated several features fulfilling the criteria for AHC: 10 patients had a movement disorder including paroxysmal elements, and 8 experienced hemiplegic episodes. In contrast to classic AHC, commonly caused by mutations in , these events were reported later only in mutation-positive patients from 20 months of age. Seven patients had epilepsy, but of these, 4 patients achieved seizure freedom. All patients had intellectual disability, usually moderate to severe. Other features include episodes of marked skin color change and gastrointestinal symptoms, each in 4 patients.

Conclusion: Although heterozygous mutations were originally described in early infantile epileptic encephalopathy type 64, our study confirms that they account for a more expansive clinical phenotype, including a complex polymorphic movement disorder with paroxysmal elements resembling AHC. testing should therefore be considered in patients with an AHC-like phenotype, particularly those negative for mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011543DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8032376PMC
March 2021

NEXMIF encephalopathy: an X-linked disorder with male and female phenotypic patterns.

Genet Med 2021 02 4;23(2):363-373. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Department of Clinical Genomics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Purpose: Pathogenic variants in the X-linked gene NEXMIF (previously KIAA2022) are associated with intellectual disability (ID), autism spectrum disorder, and epilepsy. We aimed to delineate the female and male phenotypic spectrum of NEXMIF encephalopathy.

Methods: Through an international collaboration, we analyzed the phenotypes and genotypes of 87 patients with NEXMIF encephalopathy.

Results: Sixty-three females and 24 males (46 new patients) with NEXMIF encephalopathy were studied, with 30 novel variants. Phenotypic features included developmental delay/ID in 86/87 (99%), seizures in 71/86 (83%) and multiple comorbidities. Generalized seizures predominated including myoclonic seizures and absence seizures (both 46/70, 66%), absence with eyelid myoclonia (17/70, 24%), and atonic seizures (30/70, 43%). Males had more severe developmental impairment; females had epilepsy more frequently, and varied from unaffected to severely affected. All NEXMIF pathogenic variants led to a premature stop codon or were deleterious structural variants. Most arose de novo, although X-linked segregation occurred for both sexes. Somatic mosaicism occurred in two males and a family with suspected parental mosaicism.

Conclusion: NEXMIF encephalopathy is an X-linked, generalized developmental and epileptic encephalopathy characterized by myoclonic-atonic epilepsy overlapping with eyelid myoclonia with absence. Some patients have developmental encephalopathy without epilepsy. Males have more severe developmental impairment. NEXMIF encephalopathy arises due to loss-of-function variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-020-00988-9DOI Listing
February 2021

Loss-of-function mutations in UDP-Glucose 6-Dehydrogenase cause recessive developmental epileptic encephalopathy.

Nat Commun 2020 01 30;11(1):595. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Pediatrics, Department of Neurology, & the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Developmental epileptic encephalopathies are devastating disorders characterized by intractable epileptic seizures and developmental delay. Here, we report an allelic series of germline recessive mutations in UGDH in 36 cases from 25 families presenting with epileptic encephalopathy with developmental delay and hypotonia. UGDH encodes an oxidoreductase that converts UDP-glucose to UDP-glucuronic acid, a key component of specific proteoglycans and glycolipids. Consistent with being loss-of-function alleles, we show using patients' primary fibroblasts and biochemical assays, that these mutations either impair UGDH stability, oligomerization, or enzymatic activity. In vitro, patient-derived cerebral organoids are smaller with a reduced number of proliferating neuronal progenitors while mutant ugdh zebrafish do not phenocopy the human disease. Our study defines UGDH as a key player for the production of extracellular matrix components that are essential for human brain development. Based on the incidence of variants observed, UGDH mutations are likely to be a frequent cause of recessive epileptic encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14360-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992768PMC
January 2020

Re-annotation of 191 developmental and epileptic encephalopathy-associated genes unmasks de novo variants in .

NPJ Genom Med 2019 2;4:31. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

20Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0XY UK.

The developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) are a group of rare, severe neurodevelopmental disorders, where even the most thorough sequencing studies leave 60-65% of patients without a molecular diagnosis. Here, we explore the incompleteness of transcript models used for exome and genome analysis as one potential explanation for a lack of current diagnoses. Therefore, we have updated the GENCODE gene annotation for 191 epilepsy-associated genes, using human brain-derived transcriptomic libraries and other data to build 3,550 putative transcript models. Our annotations increase the transcriptional 'footprint' of these genes by over 674 kb. Using as a case study, due to its close phenotype/genotype correlation with Dravet syndrome, we screened 122 people with Dravet syndrome or a similar phenotype with a panel of exon sequences representing eight established genes and identified two de novo variants that now - through improved gene annotation - are ascribed to residing among our exons. These two (from 122 screened people, 1.6%) molecular diagnoses carry significant clinical implications. Furthermore, we identified a previously classified intronic Dravet syndrome-associated variant that now lies within a deeply conserved exon. Our findings illustrate the potential gains of thorough gene annotation in improving diagnostic yields for genetic disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41525-019-0106-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889285PMC
December 2019

Treatment Responsiveness in KCNT1-Related Epilepsy.

Neurotherapeutics 2019 07;16(3):848-857

Division of Child Neurology, Department of Neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY, USA.

Pathogenic variants in KCNT1 represent an important cause of treatment-resistant epilepsy, for which an effective therapy has been elusive. Reports about the effectiveness of quinidine, a candidate precision therapy, have been mixed. We sought to evaluate the treatment responsiveness of patients with KCNT1-related epilepsy. We performed an observational study of 43 patients using a collaborative KCNT1 patient registry. We assessed treatment efficacy based upon clinical seizure reduction, side effects of quinidine therapy, and variant-specific responsiveness to treatment. Quinidine treatment resulted in a > 50% seizure reduction in 20% of patients, with rare patients achieving transient seizure freedom. Multiple other therapies demonstrated some success in reducing seizure frequency, including the ketogenic diet and vigabatrin, the latter particularly in patients with epileptic spasms. Patients with the best quinidine response had variants that clustered distal to the NADP domain within the RCK2 domain of the protein. Half of patients did not receive a quinidine trial. In those who did, nearly half did not achieve therapeutic blood levels. More favorable response to quinidine in patients with KCNT1 variants distal to the NADP domain within the RCK2 domain may suggest a variant-specific response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-019-00739-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6694367PMC
July 2019

Diagnostic implications of genetic copy number variation in epilepsy plus.

Epilepsia 2019 04 13;60(4):689-706. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Center for Human Genetics, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.

Objective: Copy number variations (CNVs) represent a significant genetic risk for several neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy. As knowledge increases, reanalysis of existing data is essential. Reliable estimates of the contribution of CNVs to epilepsies from sizeable populations are not available.

Methods: We assembled a cohort of 1255 patients with preexisting array comparative genomic hybridization or single nucleotide polymorphism array based CNV data. All patients had "epilepsy plus," defined as epilepsy with comorbid features, including intellectual disability, psychiatric symptoms, and other neurological and nonneurological features. CNV classification was conducted using a systematic filtering workflow adapted to epilepsy.

Results: Of 1097 patients remaining after genetic data quality control, 120 individuals (10.9%) carried at least one autosomal CNV classified as pathogenic; 19 individuals (1.7%) carried at least one autosomal CNV classified as possibly pathogenic. Eleven patients (1%) carried more than one (possibly) pathogenic CNV. We identified CNVs covering recently reported (HNRNPU) or emerging (RORB) epilepsy genes, and further delineated the phenotype associated with mutations of these genes. Additional novel epilepsy candidate genes emerge from our study. Comparing phenotypic features of pathogenic CNV carriers to those of noncarriers of pathogenic CNVs, we show that patients with nonneurological comorbidities, especially dysmorphism, were more likely to carry pathogenic CNVs (odds ratio = 4.09, confidence interval = 2.51-6.68; P = 2.34 × 10 ). Meta-analysis including data from published control groups showed that the presence or absence of epilepsy did not affect the detected frequency of CNVs.

Significance: The use of a specifically adapted workflow enabled identification of pathogenic autosomal CNVs in 10.9% of patients with epilepsy plus, which rose to 12.7% when we also considered possibly pathogenic CNVs. Our data indicate that epilepsy with comorbid features should be considered an indication for patients to be selected for a diagnostic algorithm including CNV detection. Collaborative large-scale CNV reanalysis leads to novel declaration of pathogenicity in unexplained cases and can promote discovery of promising candidate epilepsy genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/epi.14683DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6488157PMC
April 2019

Biallelic VARS variants cause developmental encephalopathy with microcephaly that is recapitulated in vars knockout zebrafish.

Nat Commun 2019 02 12;10(1):708. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

Pediatric Department B' Emek Medical Center, Afula, 1834111, Israel.

Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (ARSs) link specific amino acids with their cognate transfer RNAs in a critical early step of protein translation. Mutations in ARSs have emerged as a cause of recessive, often complex neurological disease traits. Here we report an allelic series consisting of seven novel and two previously reported biallelic variants in valyl-tRNA synthetase (VARS) in ten patients with a developmental encephalopathy with microcephaly, often associated with early-onset epilepsy. In silico, in vitro, and yeast complementation assays demonstrate that the underlying pathomechanism of these mutations is most likely a loss of protein function. Zebrafish modeling accurately recapitulated some of the key neurological disease traits. These results provide both genetic and biological insights into neurodevelopmental disease and pave the way for further in-depth research on ARS related recessive disorders and precision therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-07953-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6372652PMC
February 2019

Aberrant Inclusion of a Poison Exon Causes Dravet Syndrome and Related SCN1A-Associated Genetic Epilepsies.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 12;103(6):1022-1029

Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. Electronic address:

Developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs) are a group of severe epilepsies characterized by refractory seizures and developmental impairment. Sequencing approaches have identified causal genetic variants in only about 50% of individuals with DEEs. This suggests that unknown genetic etiologies exist, potentially in the ∼98% of human genomes not covered by exome sequencing (ES). Here we describe seven likely pathogenic variants in regions outside of the annotated coding exons of the most frequently implicated epilepsy gene, SCN1A, encoding the alpha-1 sodium channel subunit. We provide evidence that five of these variants promote inclusion of a "poison" exon that leads to reduced amounts of full-length SCN1A protein. This mechanism is likely to be broadly relevant to human disease; transcriptome studies have revealed hundreds of poison exons, including some present within genes encoding other sodium channels and in genes involved in neurodevelopment more broadly. Future research on the mechanisms that govern neuronal-specific splicing behavior might allow researchers to co-opt this system for RNA therapeutics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.10.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288405PMC
December 2018

De novo variants in neurodevelopmental disorders with epilepsy.

Nat Genet 2018 07 25;50(7):1048-1053. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

University of Leipzig Hospitals and Clinics, Leipzig, Germany.

Epilepsy is a frequent feature of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), but little is known about genetic differences between NDDs with and without epilepsy. We analyzed de novo variants (DNVs) in 6,753 parent-offspring trios ascertained to have different NDDs. In the subset of 1,942 individuals with NDDs with epilepsy, we identified 33 genes with a significant excess of DNVs, of which SNAP25 and GABRB2 had previously only limited evidence of disease association. Joint analysis of all individuals with NDDs also implicated CACNA1E as a novel disease-associated gene. Comparing NDDs with and without epilepsy, we found missense DNVs, DNVs in specific genes, age of recruitment, and severity of intellectual disability to be associated with epilepsy. We further demonstrate the extent to which our results affect current genetic testing as well as treatment, emphasizing the benefit of accurate genetic diagnosis in NDDs with epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0143-7DOI Listing
July 2018

Dual Molecular Effects of Dominant RORA Mutations Cause Two Variants of Syndromic Intellectual Disability with Either Autism or Cerebellar Ataxia.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 05 12;102(5):744-759. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire & Génomique, CHU de Rennes, 35033 Rennes, France.

RORα, the RAR-related orphan nuclear receptor alpha, is essential for cerebellar development. The spontaneous mutant mouse staggerer, with an ataxic gait caused by neurodegeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells, was discovered two decades ago to result from homozygous intragenic Rora deletions. However, RORA mutations were hitherto undocumented in humans. Through a multi-centric collaboration, we identified three copy-number variant deletions (two de novo and one dominantly inherited in three generations), one de novo disrupting duplication, and nine de novo point mutations (three truncating, one canonical splice site, and five missense mutations) involving RORA in 16 individuals from 13 families with variable neurodevelopmental delay and intellectual disability (ID)-associated autistic features, cerebellar ataxia, and epilepsy. Consistent with the human and mouse data, disruption of the D. rerio ortholog, roraa, causes significant reduction in the size of the developing cerebellum. Systematic in vivo complementation studies showed that, whereas wild-type human RORA mRNA could complement the cerebellar pathology, missense variants had two distinct pathogenic mechanisms of either haploinsufficiency or a dominant toxic effect according to their localization in the ligand-binding or DNA-binding domains, respectively. This dichotomous direction of effect is likely relevant to the phenotype in humans: individuals with loss-of-function variants leading to haploinsufficiency show ID with autistic features, while individuals with de novo dominant toxic variants present with ID, ataxia, and cerebellar atrophy. Our combined genetic and functional data highlight the complex mutational landscape at the human RORA locus and suggest that dual mutational effects likely determine phenotypic outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.02.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986661PMC
May 2018

Delineating SPTAN1 associated phenotypes: from isolated epilepsy to encephalopathy with progressive brain atrophy.

Brain 2017 Sep;140(9):2322-2336

Pediatric Neurology, Neurogenetics and Neurobiology Unit and Laboratories, Neuroscience Department, A Meyer Children's Hospital, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.

De novo in-frame deletions and duplications in the SPTAN1 gene, encoding the non-erythrocyte αII spectrin, have been associated with severe West syndrome with hypomyelination and pontocerebellar atrophy. We aimed at comprehensively delineating the phenotypic spectrum associated with SPTAN1 mutations. Using different molecular genetic techniques, we identified 20 patients with a pathogenic or likely pathogenic SPTAN1 variant and reviewed their clinical, genetic and imaging data. SPTAN1 de novo alterations included seven unique missense variants and nine in-frame deletions/duplications of which 12 were novel. The recurrent three-amino acid duplication p.(Asp2303_Leu2305dup) occurred in five patients. Our patient cohort exhibited a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental phenotypes, comprising six patients with mild to moderate intellectual disability, with or without epilepsy and behavioural disorders, and 14 patients with infantile epileptic encephalopathy, of which 13 had severe neurodevelopmental impairment and four died in early childhood. Imaging studies suggested that the severity of neurological impairment and epilepsy correlates with that of structural abnormalities as well as the mutation type and location. Out of seven patients harbouring mutations outside the α/β spectrin heterodimerization domain, four had normal brain imaging and three exhibited moderately progressive brain and/or cerebellar atrophy. Twelve of 13 patients with mutations located within the spectrin heterodimer contact site exhibited severe and progressive brain, brainstem and cerebellar atrophy, with hypomyelination in most. We used fibroblasts from five patients to study spectrin aggregate formation by Triton-X extraction and immunocytochemistry followed by fluorescence microscopy. αII/βII aggregates and αII spectrin in the insoluble protein fraction were observed in fibroblasts derived from patients with the mutations p.(Glu2207del), p.(Asp2303_Leu2305dup) and p.(Arg2308_Met2309dup), all falling in the nucleation site of the α/β spectrin heterodimer region. Molecular modelling of the seven SPTAN1 amino acid changes provided preliminary evidence for structural alterations of the A-, B- and/or C-helices within each of the mutated spectrin repeats. We conclude that SPTAN1-related disorders comprise a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental phenotypes ranging from mild to severe and progressive. Spectrin aggregate formation in fibroblasts with mutations in the α/β heterodimerization domain seems to be associated with a severe neurodegenerative course and suggests that the amino acid stretch from Asp2303 to Met2309 in the α20 repeat is important for α/β spectrin heterodimer formation and/or αII spectrin function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6248409PMC
September 2017

STXBP1 as a therapeutic target for epileptic encephalopathy.

Expert Opin Ther Targets 2017 11 5;21(11):1027-1036. Epub 2017 Oct 5.

a Neurogenetics Group, Center for Molecular Neurology , VIB , Antwerp , Belgium.

Introduction: STXBP1 is an essential protein for presynaptic vesicle release. Mutations in STXBP1 have been associated with a series of (epileptic) neurodevelopmental disorders collectively referred to as STXBP1-encephalopathy (STXBP1-E). In this review we hypothesize about the potential of STXBP1 as a therapeutic target in the field of epileptic encephalopathies. Areas covered: A state of the art overview on current understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanism underlying STXBP1-E is presented. Possibilities of different treatment modalities are discussed including unbiased compound screening, specific protein-protein interaction inhibition and gene therapy, consisting either of gene suppletion or upregulation of gene expression. Expert opinion: Current treatment for STXBP1-E is largely limited to seizure control and future therapies will need to target the developmental aspects of the disease as well. Both in vitro- and animal models used to study the pathophysiology of STXBP1-E could be further optimized as a model for compound screening. They should reflect both the hyper excitable state and the psychomotor delay of STXBP1-E. Specific protein-protein interaction and gene therapy are promising future treatment options that need to be investigated further. We suggest a parallel research strategy on basic pathophysiology and compound development with both fields working in close collaboration with the patient/clinical community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14728222.2017.1386175DOI Listing
November 2017

Genetic and phenotypic heterogeneity suggest therapeutic implications in SCN2A-related disorders.

Brain 2017 May;140(5):1316-1336

CeGaT - Center for Genomics and Transcriptomics, Tübingen, Germany.

Mutations in SCN2A, a gene encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.2, have been associated with a spectrum of epilepsies and neurodevelopmental disorders. Here, we report the phenotypes of 71 patients and review 130 previously reported patients. We found that (i) encephalopathies with infantile/childhood onset epilepsies (≥3 months of age) occur almost as often as those with an early infantile onset (<3 months), and are thus more frequent than previously reported; (ii) distinct phenotypes can be seen within the late onset group, including myoclonic-atonic epilepsy (two patients), Lennox-Gastaut not emerging from West syndrome (two patients), and focal epilepsies with an electrical status epilepticus during slow sleep-like EEG pattern (six patients); and (iii) West syndrome constitutes a common phenotype with a major recurring mutation (p.Arg853Gln: two new and four previously reported children). Other known phenotypes include Ohtahara syndrome, epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures, and intellectual disability or autism without epilepsy. To assess the response to antiepileptic therapy, we retrospectively reviewed the treatment regimen and the course of the epilepsy in 66 patients for which well-documented medical information was available. We find that the use of sodium channel blockers was often associated with clinically relevant seizure reduction or seizure freedom in children with early infantile epilepsies (<3 months), whereas other antiepileptic drugs were less effective. In contrast, sodium channel blockers were rarely effective in epilepsies with later onset (≥3 months) and sometimes induced seizure worsening. Regarding the genetic findings, truncating mutations were exclusively seen in patients with late onset epilepsies and lack of response to sodium channel blockers. Functional characterization of four selected missense mutations using whole cell patch-clamping in tsA201 cells-together with data from the literature-suggest that mutations associated with early infantile epilepsy result in increased sodium channel activity with gain-of-function, characterized by slowing of fast inactivation, acceleration of its recovery or increased persistent sodium current. Further, a good response to sodium channel blockers clinically was found to be associated with a relatively small gain-of-function. In contrast, mutations in patients with late-onset forms and an insufficient response to sodium channel blockers were associated with loss-of-function effects, including a depolarizing shift of voltage-dependent activation or a hyperpolarizing shift of channel availability (steady-state inactivation). Our clinical and experimental data suggest a correlation between age at disease onset, response to sodium channel blockers and the functional properties of mutations in children with SCN2A-related epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx054DOI Listing
May 2017

Targeted sequencing of 351 candidate genes for epileptic encephalopathy in a large cohort of patients.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2016 Sep 30;4(5):568-80. Epub 2016 Jul 30.

Department of Genetics UMC Utrecht Utrecht The Netherlands.

Background: Many genes are candidates for involvement in epileptic encephalopathy (EE) because one or a few possibly pathogenic variants have been found in patients, but insufficient genetic or functional evidence exists for a definite annotation.

Methods: To increase the number of validated EE genes, we sequenced 26 known and 351 candidate genes for EE in 360 patients. Variants in 25 genes known to be involved in EE or related phenotypes were followed up in 41 patients. We prioritized the candidate genes, and followed up 31 variants in this prioritized subset of candidate genes.

Results: Twenty-nine genotypes in known genes for EE (19) or related diseases (10), dominant as well as recessive or X-linked, were classified as likely pathogenic variants. Among those, likely pathogenic de novo variants were found in EE genes that act dominantly, including the recently identified genes EEF1A2, KCNB1 and the X-linked gene IQSEC2. A de novo frameshift variant in candidate gene HNRNPU was the only de novo variant found among the followed-up candidate genes, and the patient's phenotype was similar to a few recent publications.

Conclusion: Mutations in genes described in OMIM as, for example, intellectual disability gene can lead to phenotypes that get classified as EE in the clinic. We confirmed existing literature reports that de novo loss-of-function HNRNPUmutations lead to severe developmental delay and febrile seizures in the first year of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5023942PMC
September 2016

Loss of function of the retinoid-related nuclear receptor (RORB) gene and epilepsy.

Eur J Hum Genet 2016 12 29;24(12):1761-1770. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

Human Genetics Laboratory, "Mina Minovici" National Institute of Forensic Medicine, Bucharest, Romania.

Genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE), formerly known as idiopathic generalized epilepsy, is the most common form of epilepsy and is thought to have predominant genetic etiology. GGE are clinically characterized by absence, myoclonic, or generalized tonic-clonic seizures with electroencephalographic pattern of bilateral, synchronous, and symmetrical spike-and-wave discharges. Despite their strong heritability, the genetic basis of generalized epilepsies remains largely elusive. Nevertheless, recent advances in genetic technology have led to the identification of numerous genes and genomic defects in various types of epilepsies in the past few years. In the present study, we performed whole-exome sequencing in a family with GGE consistent with the diagnosis of eyelid myoclonia with absences. We found a nonsense variant (c.196C>T/p.(Arg66*)) in RORB, which encodes the beta retinoid-related orphan nuclear receptor (RORβ), in four affected family members. In addition, two de novo variants (c.218T>C/p.(Leu73Pro); c.1249_1251delACG/p.(Thr417del)) were identified in sporadic patients by trio-based exome sequencing. We also found two de novo deletions in patients with behavioral and cognitive impairment and epilepsy: a 52-kb microdeletion involving exons 5-10 of RORB and a larger 9q21-microdeletion. Furthermore, we identified a patient with intellectual disability and a balanced translocation where one breakpoint truncates RORB and refined the phenotype of a recently reported patient with RORB deletion. Our data support the role of RORB gene variants/CNVs in neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy, and especially in generalized epilepsies with predominant absence seizures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2016.80DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5117930PMC
December 2016

STXBP1 encephalopathy: A neurodevelopmental disorder including epilepsy.

Neurology 2016 Mar 10;86(10):954-62. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

Authors' affiliations are listed at the end of the article.

Objective: To give a comprehensive overview of the phenotypic and genetic spectrum of STXBP1 encephalopathy (STXBP1-E) by systematically reviewing newly diagnosed and previously reported patients.

Methods: We recruited newly diagnosed patients with STXBP1 mutations through an international network of clinicians and geneticists. Furthermore, we performed a systematic literature search to review the phenotypes of all previously reported patients.

Results: We describe the phenotypic features of 147 patients with STXBP1-E including 45 previously unreported patients with 33 novel STXBP1 mutations. All patients have intellectual disability (ID), which is mostly severe to profound (88%). Ninety-five percent of patients have epilepsy. While one-third of patients presented with Ohtahara syndrome (21%) or West syndrome (9.5%), the majority has a nonsyndromic early-onset epilepsy and encephalopathy (53%) with epileptic spasms or tonic seizures as main seizure type. We found no correlation between severity of seizures and severity of ID or between mutation type and seizure characteristics or cognitive outcome. Neurologic comorbidities including autistic features and movement disorders are frequent. We also report 2 previously unreported adult patients with prominent extrapyramidal features.

Conclusion: De novo STXBP1 mutations are among the most frequent causes of epilepsy and encephalopathy. Most patients have severe to profound ID with little correlation among seizure onset, seizure severity, and the degree of ID. Accordingly, we hypothesize that seizure severity and ID present 2 independent dimensions of the STXBP1-E phenotype. STXBP1-E may be conceptualized as a complex neurodevelopmental disorder rather than a primary epileptic encephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000002457DOI Listing
March 2016

Auditory cortex tACS and tRNS for tinnitus: single versus multiple sessions.

Neural Plast 2014 22;2014:436713. Epub 2014 Dec 22.

Department of Translational Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk, 2610 Antwerpen, Belgium ; Lab for Clinical & Integrative Neuroscience, School of Behavioral & Brain Science, University of Texas at Dallas, W. 1966 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX 75235, USA.

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an external acoustic source, which often exerts a significant impact on the quality of life. Currently there is evidence that neuroplastic changes in both neural pathways are involved in the generation and maintaining of tinnitus. Neuromodulation has been suggested to interfere with these neuroplastic alterations. In this study we aimed to compare the effect of two upcoming forms of transcranial electrical neuromodulation: alternating current stimulation (tACS) and random noise stimulation (tRNS), both applied on the auditory cortex. A database with 228 patients with chronic tinnitus who underwent noninvasive neuromodulation was retrospectively analyzed. The results of this study show that a single session of tRNS induces a significant suppressive effect on tinnitus loudness and distress, in contrast to tACS. Multiple sessions of tRNS augment the suppressive effect on tinnitus loudness but have no effect on tinnitus distress. In conclusion this preliminary study shows a possibly beneficial effect of tRNS on tinnitus and can be a motivation for future randomized placebo-controlled clinical studies with auditory tRNS for tinnitus. Auditory alpha-modulated tACS does not seem to be contributing to the treatment of tinnitus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/436713DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4283418PMC
May 2015
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