Diagnosis and Outcome of SCN4A-Related Severe Neonatal Episodic Laryngospasm (SNEL): 2 New Cases

Service de Neuropédiatrie, Hôpital Timone Enfants, Marseille, France
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 08/2013; 132(3). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-3065
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations of SCN4A encoding the skeletal muscle sodium channel Nav 1.4 cause several types of disease, including sodium channel myotonias. The latter may be responsible for neonatal symptoms, including severe neonatal episodic laryngospasm (SNEL). Establishing the diagnosis of SCN4A-related SNEL early in the neonatal period is crucial because treatment is available that can reduce laryngospasm and improve vital and cerebral outcome. We report 2 new unrelated French patients who presented with SNEL. The first patient was initially diagnosed with laryngomalacia and underwent laryngeal surgery in the neonatal period before being diagnosed with myotonia at 14 months of age. The episodes of laryngospasm disappeared spontaneously, although occasional circumstances such as cold exposure could trigger laryngeal reactions; in addition, he developed myotonia corresponding to an adult myotonia permanens phenotype. This patient is now 24 years old and leading a normal life. The second patient was initially diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux, then SNEL; his condition improved with carbamazepine treatment, and he is now 6 months old. The diagnostic sequence in both patients was the same: first, severe episodic apneic attacks necessitating hospitalization occurring in the first week of life; second, observation of muscle hypertrophy and peripheral hypertonia with a clear myotonic pattern on electromyogram (at 14 and 3 months of age, respectively); third, genetic testing revealing de novo SCN4A G1306E mutation. Both patients have had good therapeutic response to sodium channel blockers (carbamazepine or mexiletine).

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review This article reviews recent advances in clinical, genetic, diagnostic and pathophysiological aspects of the skeletal muscle channelopathies. Recent findings Genetic advances include the use of the minigene assay to confirm pathogenicity of splice site mutations of CLC-1 chloride channels and a new gene association for Andersen-Tawil syndrome. Mutations causing a gating pore current have been established as a pathomechanism for hypokalaemic periodic paralysis. Mutations in nonchannel genes, including the mitochondrial mATP6/8 genes, have been linked to channelopathy-like episodic weakness. Advances in diagnostic tools include the use of MRI and muscle velocity recovery cycles to evaluate myotonia congenita patients. Specific neonatal presentations of sodium channel myotonia are now well documented. An international multicentre placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial established that mexiletine is an effective therapy in the nondystrophic myotonias. This is the first evidence-based treatment for a skeletal muscle channelopathy. Recent evidence in mouse models indicated that bumetanide can prevent attacks of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis, but this has not yet been tested in patient trials. Summary Advances in genetic, clinical, diagnostic and pathomechanistic understanding of skeletal muscle channelopathies are being translated into improved therapies. Mexiletine is the first evidence-based treatment for nondystrophic myotonias. Bumetanide is effective in preventing attacks in mouse models of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis and now needs to be tested in patients.
    Current Opinion in Neurology 10/2014; 27(5):583-590. DOI:10.1097/WCO.0000000000000127 · 5.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Myotonia is often a painful and disabling symptom which can interfere with daily motor function resulting in significant morbidity. Since myotonic disorders are rare it has generally proved difficult to obtain class I level evidence for anti-myotonic drug efficacy by performing randomized placebo controlled trials. Current treatment guidance is therefore largely based on anecdotal reports and physician experience. Despite the genetic channel heterogeneity of the myotonic disorders the sodium channel antagonists have become the main focus of pharmacological interest. Mexiletine is currently regarded as the first choice sodium channel blocker based on a recent placebo controlled randomized trial. However, some patients do not respond to mexiletine or have significant side effects limiting its use. There is a clinical need to develop additional antimyotonic agents. The study of Desaphy et al. is therefore important and provides in vitro evidence that a number of existing drugs with sodium channel blocking capability could potentially be repurposed as anti-myotonic drugs. Translation of these potentially important in vitro findings into clinical practice requires carefully designed randomized controlled trials. Here we discuss Desaphy's findings in the wider context of attempts to develop additional therapies for patients with clinically significant myotonia.
    Experimental Neurology 09/2014; 261. DOI:10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.09.003 · 4.62 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Laryngospasm is a rare but potentially life-threatening occurrence in infants and usually has infective, allergic, metabolic, or anatomic causes. Underlying genetic conditions are rarely considered. Mutations in SCN4A encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.4 have been implicated in a wide spectrum of neuromuscular disorders with variable onset, ranging from a rare form of congenital myasthenic syndrome to both hypokalemic and hyperkalemic forms of periodic paralysis and paramyotonia congenita. Here we report on 3 unrelated patients without family history presenting with recurrent, life-threatening episodes of laryngospasm from the first months of life. Clinical features more typically associated with SCN4A-related disorders such as generalized muscle hypertrophy with clinical or electrical myotonia evolved later in life. All patients were found to be heterozygous for the same SCN4A mutation, c.3917G>A; p.Gly1306Glu. Treatment with carbamazepine resulted in complete abolition of recurrent laryngospasm and alleviated symptoms associated with myotonia and muscle stiffness. We conclude that SCN4A mutations ought to be considered in the differential diagnosis of recurrent infantile laryngospasm because timely institution of treatment can be life-saving.
    Pediatrics 10/2014; 134(5). DOI:10.1542/peds.2013-3727 · 5.30 Impact Factor