Medicine (Austin & Northern Health) - Research Publications

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    Assessing the genetic association between vitamin B6 metabolism and genetic generalized epilepsy
    Stevelink, R ; Pangilinan, F ; Jansen, FE ; Braun, KPJ ; Molloy, AM ; Brody, LC ; Koeleman, BPC (ELSEVIER, 2019-12-01)
    Altered vitamin B6 metabolism due to pathogenic variants in the gene PNPO causes early onset epileptic encephalopathy, which can be treated with high doses of vitamin B6. We recently reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that influence PNPO expression in the brain are associated with genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE). However, it is not known whether any of these GGE-associated SNPs influence vitamin B6 metabolite levels. Such an influence would suggest that vitamin B6 could play a role in GGE therapy. Here, we performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to assess the influence of GGE associated genetic variants on measures of vitamin B6 metabolism in blood plasma in 2232 healthy individuals. We also asked if SNPs that influence vitamin B6 were associated with GGE in 3122 affected individuals and 20,244 controls. Our GWAS of vitamin B6 metabolites reproduced a previous association and found a novel genome-wide significant locus. The SNPs in these loci were not associated with GGE. We found that 84 GGE-associated SNPs influence expression levels of PNPO in the brain as well as in blood. However, these SNPs were not associated with vitamin B6 metabolism in plasma. By leveraging polygenic risk scoring (PRS), we found suggestive evidence of higher catabolism and lower levels of the active and transport forms of vitamin B6 in GGE, although these findings require further replication.
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    ADGRV1 is implicated in myoclonic epilepsy
    Myers, KA ; Nasioulas, S ; Boys, A ; McMahon, JM ; Slater, H ; Lockhart, P ; du Sart, D ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the significance of variation in ADGRV1 (also known as GPR98, MASS1, and VLGR1), MEF2C, and other genes at the 5q14.3 chromosomal locus in myoclonic epilepsy. METHODS: We studied the epilepsy phenotypes of 4 individuals with 5q14.3 deletion and found that all had myoclonic seizures. We then screened 6 contiguous genes at 5q14.3, MEF2C, CETN3, MBLAC2, POLR3G, LYSMD3, and ADGRV1, in a 95-patient cohort with epilepsy and myoclonic seizures. Of these genes, point mutations in MEF2C cause a phenotype involving seizures and intellectual disability. A role for ADGRV1 in epilepsy has been proposed previously, based on a recessive mutation in the Frings mouse model of audiogenic seizures, as well as a shared homologous region with another epilepsy gene, LGI1. RESULTS: Six patients from the myoclonic epilepsy cohort had likely pathogenic ultra-rare ADGRV1 variants, and statistical analysis showed that ultra-rare variants were significantly overrepresented when compared to healthy population data from the Genome Aggregation Database. Of the remaining genes, no definite pathogenic variants were identified. SIGNIFICANCE: Our data suggest that the ADGRV1 variation contributes to epilepsy with myoclonic seizures, although the inheritance pattern may be complex in many cases. In patients with 5q14.3 deletion and epilepsy, ADGRV1 haploinsufficiency likely contributes to seizure development. The latter is a shift from current thinking, as MEF2C haploinsufficiency has been considered the main cause of epilepsy in 5q14.3 deletion syndrome. In cases of 5q14.3 deletion and epilepsy, seizures likely occur due to haploinsufficiency of one or both of ADGRV1 and MEF2C.
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    Severe infantile onset developmental and epileptic encephalopathy caused by mutations in autophagy gene WDR45
    Carvill, GL ; Liu, A ; Mandelstam, S ; Schneider, A ; Lacroix, A ; Zemel, M ; McMahon, JM ; Bello-Espinosa, L ; Mackay, M ; Wallace, G ; Waak, M ; Zhang, J ; Yang, X ; Malone, S ; Zhang, Y-H ; Mefford, HC ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-01-01)
    Heterozygous de novo variants in the autophagy gene, WDR45, are found in beta-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN). BPAN is characterized by adolescent onset dementia and dystonia; 66% patients have seizures. We asked whether WDR45 was associated with developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE). We performed next generation sequencing of WDR45 in 655 patients with developmental and epileptic encephalopathies. We identified 3/655 patients with DEE plus 4 additional patients with de novo WDR45 pathogenic variants (6 truncations, 1 missense); all were female. Six presented with DEE and 1 with early onset focal seizures and profound regression. Median seizure onset was 12 months, 6 had multiple seizure types, and 5/7 had focal seizures. Three patients had magnetic resonance susceptibility-weighted imaging; blooming was noted in the globus pallidi and substantia nigra in the 2 older children aged 4 and 9 years, consistent with iron accumulation. We show that de novo pathogenic variants are associated with a range of developmental and epileptic encephalopathies with profound developmental consequences.
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    Mosaic uniparental disomy results in GM1 gangliosidosis with normal enzyme assay
    Myers, KA ; Bennett, MF ; Chow, CW ; Carden, SM ; Mandelstam, SA ; Bahlo, M ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-01-01)
    Inherited metabolic disorders are traditionally diagnosed using broad and expensive panels of screening tests, often including invasive skin and muscle biopsy. Proponents of next-generation genetic sequencing have argued that replacing these screening panels with whole exome sequencing (WES) would save money. Here, we present a complex patient in whom WES allowed diagnosis of GM1 gangliosidosis, caused by homozygous GLB1 mutations, resulting in β-galactosidase deficiency. A 10-year-old girl had progressive neurologic deterioration, macular cherry-red spot, and cornea verticillata. She had marked clinical improvement with initiation of the ketogenic diet. Comparative genomic hybridization microarray showed mosaic chromosome 3 paternal uniparental disomy (UPD). GM1 gangliosidosis was suspected, however β-galactosidase assay was normal. Trio WES identified a paternally-inherited pathogenic splice-site GLB1 mutation (c.75+2dupT). The girl had GM1 gangliosidosis; however, enzymatic testing in blood was normal, presumably compensated for by non-UPD cells. Severe neurologic dysfunction occurred due to disruptive effects of UPD brain cells.
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    Gain-of-function HCN2 variants in genetic epilepsy
    Li, M ; Maljevic, S ; Phillips, AM ; Petrovski, S ; Hildebrand, MS ; Burgess, R ; Mount, T ; Zara, F ; Striano, P ; Schubert, J ; Thiele, H ; Nuernberg, P ; Wong, M ; Weisenberg, JL ; Thio, LL ; Lerche, H ; Scheffer, IE ; Berkovic, SF ; Petrou, S ; Reid, CA (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    Genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) is a common epilepsy syndrome that encompasses seizure disorders characterized by spike-and-wave discharges (SWDs). Pacemaker hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (HCN) are considered integral to SWD genesis, making them an ideal gene candidate for GGE. We identified HCN2 missense variants from a large cohort of 585 GGE patients, recruited by the Epilepsy Phenome-Genome Project (EPGP), and performed functional analysis using two-electrode voltage clamp recordings from Xenopus oocytes. The p.S632W variant was identified in a patient with idiopathic photosensitive occipital epilepsy and segregated in the family. This variant was also independently identified in an unrelated patient with childhood absence seizures from a European cohort of 238 familial GGE cases. The p.V246M variant was identified in a patient with photo-sensitive GGE and his father diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. Functional studies revealed that both p.S632W and p.V246M had an identical functional impact including a depolarizing shift in the voltage dependence of activation that is consistent with a gain-of-function. In contrast, no biophysical changes resulted from the introduction of common population variants, p.E280K and p.A705T, and the p.R756C variant from EPGP that did not segregate with disease. Our data suggest that HCN2 variants can confer susceptibility to GGE via a gain-of-function mechanism.
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    Sleep problems in Dravet syndrome: a modifiable comorbidity
    Licheni, SH ; Mcmahon, JM ; Schneider, AL ; Davey, MJ ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    AIM: Many children with severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies experience significant sleep disturbance, causing major disruption to the family's quality of life. We aimed to determine the frequency and nature of sleep problems in individuals with Dravet syndrome. METHODS: The Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children and a seizure questionnaire were distributed to the parents/guardians of 96 patients with Dravet syndrome. Sixteen patients had two nights of home oximetry. RESULTS: Fifty-seven out of 96 questionnaires were completed. Forty-three out of 57 (75%) individuals had sleep problems. Twenty-five out of 57 (44%) individuals had an abnormal total sleep score, with difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep (22 out of 57, 39%), sleep-wake transition disorders (20 out of 57, 35%), and sleep breathing disorders (19 out of 57, 33%). Twenty-two out of 57 (39%) individuals took medication to assist sleep, predominantly melatonin (n=14). Thirty out of 57 (53%) recently had nocturnal seizures. Overnight oximetry showed 14 out of 16 (88%) had a higher oxygen desaturation index (>3%), and six out of 16 (38%) had higher mean pulse rates than normative values. Home oximetry was normal or inconclusive in all patients. INTERPRETATION: Seventy-five per cent of individuals with Dravet syndrome had sleep problems, highlighting the importance of routinely assessing sleep and initiating appropriate behavioural and pharmacological interventions to improve the patient and family's quality of life. A high oxygen desaturation index and mean pulse rates on pulse oximetry may reflect unrecognized nocturnal seizures. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDS: More than 70% of patients with Dravet syndrome have sleep problems. Difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep was most common, particularly in those older than 20 years. Second most common were sleep-wake transition disorders, affecting more than 50% of those younger than 5 years. Sleep breathing disorders were a frequent problem across all age groups. Oximetry was not diagnostic of sleep-disordered breathing or obvious seizures.
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    How long for epilepsy remission in the ILAE definition?
    Fisher, RS ; Acevedo, C ; Arzimanoglou, A ; Bogacz, A ; Cross, JH ; Elger, CE ; Engel, J ; Forsgren, L ; French, JA ; Hesdorffer, DC ; Lee, B-I ; Mathern, GW ; Moshe, SL ; Perucca, E ; Scheffer, IE ; Tomson, T ; Watanabe, M ; Wiebe, S (WILEY, 2017-08-01)
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    Response to the numbering of seizure types
    Fisher, RS ; Cross, JH ; D'Souza, C ; French, JA ; Haut, S ; Higurashi, N ; Hirsch, E ; Jansen, FE ; Lagae, L ; Moshe, SL ; Korey, SR ; Purpura, DP ; Peltola, J ; Roulet Perez, E ; Scheffer, IE ; Schulze-Bonhage, A ; Somerville, E ; Sperling, M ; Yacubian, EM ; Zuberi, SM (WILEY, 2017-07-01)
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    The epileptology of Koolen-de Vries syndrome: Electro-clinico-radiologic findings in 31 patients
    Myers, KA ; Mandelstam, SA ; Ramantani, G ; Rushing, EJ ; de Vries, BB ; Koolen, DA ; Scheffer, IE (WILEY, 2017-06-01)
    OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to describe the spectrum of epilepsy phenotypes in Koolen-de Vries syndrome (KdVS), a genetic syndrome involving dysmorphic features, intellectual disability, hypotonia, and congenital malformations, that occurs secondary to 17q21.31 microdeletions and heterozygous mutations in KANSL1. METHODS: We were invited to attend a large gathering of individuals with KdVS and their families. While there, we recruited individuals with KdVS and seizures, and performed thorough phenotyping. Additional subjects were included who approached us after the family support group brought attention to our research via social media. Inclusion criteria were genetic testing results demonstrating 17q21.31 deletion or KANSL1 mutation, and at least one seizure. RESULTS: Thirty-one individuals were studied, aged 2-35 years. Median age at seizure onset was 3.5 years, and 9 of 22 had refractory seizures 2 years after onset. Focal impaired awareness seizures were the most frequent seizure type occurring in 20 of 31, usually with prominent autonomic features. Twenty-one patients had prolonged seizures and, at times, refractory status epilepticus. Electroencephalography (EEG) showed focal/multifocal epileptiform discharges in 20 of 26. MRI studies of 13 patients were reviewed, and all had structural anomalies. Corpus callosum dysgenesis, abnormal hippocampi, and dilated ventricles were the most common, although periventricular nodular heterotopia, focal cortical dysplasia, abnormal sulcation, and brainstem and cerebellum abnormalities were also observed. One patient underwent epilepsy surgery for a lesion that proved to be an angiocentric glioma. SIGNIFICANCE: The typical epilepsy phenotype of KdVS involves childhood-onset focal seizures that are prolonged and have prominent autonomic features. Multifocal epileptiform discharges are the typical EEG pattern. Structural brain abnormalities may be universal, including signs of abnormal neuroblast migration and abnormal axonal guidance. Epilepsy surgery should be undertaken with care given the widespread neuroanatomic abnormalities; however, tumors are a rare, yet important, occurrence.
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    ILAE classification of the epilepsies: Position paper of the ILAE Commission for Classification and Terminology
    Scheffer, IE ; Berkovic, S ; Capovilla, G ; Connolly, MB ; French, J ; Guilhoto, L ; Hirsch, E ; Jain, S ; Mathern, GW ; Moshe, SL ; Nordli, DR ; Perucca, E ; Tomson, T ; Wiebe, S ; Zhang, Y-H ; Zuberi, SM (WILEY, 2017-04-01)
    The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Classification of the Epilepsies has been updated to reflect our gain in understanding of the epilepsies and their underlying mechanisms following the major scientific advances that have taken place since the last ratified classification in 1989. As a critical tool for the practicing clinician, epilepsy classification must be relevant and dynamic to changes in thinking, yet robust and translatable to all areas of the globe. Its primary purpose is for diagnosis of patients, but it is also critical for epilepsy research, development of antiepileptic therapies, and communication around the world. The new classification originates from a draft document submitted for public comments in 2013, which was revised to incorporate extensive feedback from the international epilepsy community over several rounds of consultation. It presents three levels, starting with seizure type, where it assumes that the patient is having epileptic seizures as defined by the new 2017 ILAE Seizure Classification. After diagnosis of the seizure type, the next step is diagnosis of epilepsy type, including focal epilepsy, generalized epilepsy, combined generalized, and focal epilepsy, and also an unknown epilepsy group. The third level is that of epilepsy syndrome, where a specific syndromic diagnosis can be made. The new classification incorporates etiology along each stage, emphasizing the need to consider etiology at each step of diagnosis, as it often carries significant treatment implications. Etiology is broken into six subgroups, selected because of their potential therapeutic consequences. New terminology is introduced such as developmental and epileptic encephalopathy. The term benign is replaced by the terms self-limited and pharmacoresponsive, to be used where appropriate. It is hoped that this new framework will assist in improving epilepsy care and research in the 21st century.