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Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of epilepsy: a review

Authors Chen T, Giri M, Xia ZY, Subedi YN, Li Y

Received 18 May 2017

Accepted for publication 15 June 2017

Published 13 July 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1841—1859

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S142032

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Tian Chen,1,* Mohan Giri,2,* Zhenyi Xia,3 Yadu Nanda Subedi,2 Yan Li1

1Department of Health Management Center, Chongqing Three Gorges Central Hospital, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China; 2National Center for Rheumatic Diseases, Ratopul, Gaushala, Kathmandu, Nepal; 3Department of Thoracic Surgery, Chongqing Three Gorges Central Hospital, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Epilepsy is a common episodic neurological disorder or condition characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures, and genetics seems to play a key role in its etiology. Early linkage studies have localized multiple loci that may harbor susceptibility genes to epilepsy, and mutational analyses have detected a number of mutations involved in both ion channel and nonion channel genes in patients with idiopathic epilepsy. Genome-wide studies of epilepsy have found copy number variants at 2q24.2-q24.3, 7q11.22, 15q11.2-q13.3, and 16p13.11-p13.2, some of which disrupt multiple genes, such as NRXN1, AUTS2, NLGN1, CNTNAP2, GRIN2A, PRRT2, NIPA2, and BMP5, implicated for neurodevelopmental disorders, including intellectual disability and autism. Unfortunately, only a few common genetic variants have been associated with epilepsy. Recent exome-sequencing studies have found some genetic mutations, most of which are located in nonion channel genes such as the LGI1, PRRT2, EFHC1, PRICKLE, RBFOX1, and DEPDC5 and in probands with rare forms of familial epilepsy, and some of these genes are involved with the neurodevelopment. Since epigenetics plays a role in neuronal function from embryogenesis and early brain development to tissue-specific gene expression, epigenetic regulation may contribute to the genetic mechanism of neurodevelopment through which a gene and the environment interacting with each other affect the development of epilepsy. This review focused on the analytic tools used to identify epilepsy and then provided a summary of recent linkage and association findings, indicating the existence of novel genes on several chromosomes for further understanding of the biology of epilepsy.

Keywords: epilepsy, genetics, neurodevelopment disorder, neurological disorder

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