Mutations in the genes encoding the alfa(2), alfa(4) and beta(2) subunits of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) play a causative role in autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE). Moreover, variations in the promoter of the corticotropic-releasing hormone gene (CRH) were also associated with ADNFLE. Here, we investigated whether nine brain-expressed genes (CHRNA2, CHRNA3, CHRNA4, CHRNA5, CHRNA6, CHRNA7, CHRNB2, CHRNB3, CHRNB4), encoding distinct nAChR subunits, and CRH are associated with the disease in three distinct ADNFLE families from Southern Italy.
There were 14 living affected individuals (9 women), ranging in age from 14 to 57 years, pertaining to three unrelated families. Age at onset of seizures clustered around 9 years of age (range from 7 and 16 years, mean: 9.1 years+/-3.8). All affected individuals manifested nocturnal partial seizures of frontal lobe origin, which were well controlled by medications. Exon 5 of CHRNA4 and CHRNB2 genes, harboring all the known mutations, was sequenced in the probands. Then, we performed a linkage study on 13 affected and 26 non-affected individuals belonging to the three families with microsatellite markers and an intragenic polymorphisms encompassing the chromosome localization of the nAChR subunit genes and of the CRH gene.
Mutational and linkage analyses allowed us to exclude the involvement of all known nAChR subunit genes and of the CRH gene in ADNFLE in our families.
Our results further illustrate the considerable genetic heterogeneity for such a syndrome, despite the quite homogeneous clinical picture. It is therefore reasonable to hypothesize that at least another gene not belonging to the nAChR gene family, in addition to CRH, is involved in the pathogenesis of ADNFLE.
"Mutations in the CHRNA4, CHRNB2, and CHRNA2 genes respectively encoding the α4, β2, and α2 subunits of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) have been reported in less than a quarter of families with autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE) . Mutations in CHRNA4 and CHRNB2 have been found even in sporadic cases       . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The beneficial effect of nicotine has been reported in autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy (ADNFLE) patients, but not tested in sporadic cases. Recently, a nicotine defect in the arousal pathway has been hypothesized even in sporadic NFLE patients and their relatives. This case-control family study was designed to test whether NFLE subjects were more likely to use tobacco than controls, as an indirect marker of cholinergic arousal system dysregulation. At least four relatives were included for each NFLE proband and control. Each subject was questioned about tobacco habits; 434 individuals were recruited. Moreover, we compared NFLE patients with age- and sex-matched controls to determine whether they are more likely to use tobacco. We found a slightly higher trend of tobacco use in NFLE probands compared to that in control subjects; we did not find any significant difference in the distribution of tobacco use among NFLE group compared to that in the control group.
"What is known is that there are considerable genetic variations and perhaps other causes that can lead to the same clinical syndrome . For example, mutations of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene (NaChR) on chromosome 20 q have been reported in some families with ANDFLE, and mutations also occur on chromosome 15  . Voltage-gated ion channels have been implicated as a physiologic cause for paroxysmal nonkinesigenic dyskinesia as well . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paroxysmal hypnogenic dyskinesia is a rare clinical entity characterized by intermittent dystonia and choreoathetoid movements that begin exclusively during sleep, often with consciousness preserved once the patient is awakened during the episodes. They occur almost every night and are often misdiagnosed as sleeping disorders. Paroxysmal hypnogenic dyskinesia is currently known to be a form of frontal lobe epilepsy, but not in all cases. We present a 19-year-old male patient with paroxysmal hypnogenic dyskinesia who responded to antihistamines. This supports an alternative theory from 1977 (before the cases had been adequately described) that the disorder lies in dysregulation in the basal ganglia. This description now appears similar to acute dystonic reactions such as extrapyramidal symptoms from antipsychotic medications, which also respond to antihistamines.
"There are many reported examples of locus heterogeneity, including breast cancer [3-6], maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) , epilepsy , early-onset Alzheimer's Disease , rheumatoid arthritis , non-polyposis colorectal cancer , non-syndromic hearing loss [12-14] and retinitis pigmentosa [15-17]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Locus heterogeneity is one of the most documented phenomena in genetics. To date, relatively little work had been done on the development of methods to address locus heterogeneity in genetic association analysis. Motivated by Zhou and Pan's work, we present a mixture model of linked and unlinked trios and develop a statistical method to estimate the probability that a heterozygous parent transmits the disease allele at a di-allelic locus, and the probability that any trio is in the linked group. The purpose here is the development of a test that extends the classic transmission disequilibrium test (TDT) to one that accounts for locus heterogeneity.
Our simulations suggest that, for sufficiently large sample size (1000 trios) our method has good power to detect association even the proportion of unlinked trios is high (75%). While the median difference (TDT-HET empirical power - TDT empirical power) is approximately 0 for all MOI, there are parameter settings for which the power difference can be substantial. Our multi-locus simulations suggest that our method has good power to detect association as long as the markers are reasonably well-correlated and the genotype relative risk are larger. Results of both single-locus and multi-locus simulations suggest our method maintains the correct type I error rate.Finally, the TDT-HET statistic shows highly significant p-values for most of the idiopathic scoliosis candidate loci, and for some loci, the estimated proportion of unlinked trios approaches or exceeds 50%, suggesting the presence of locus heterogeneity.
We have developed an extension of the TDT statistic (TDT-HET) that allows for locus heterogeneity among coded trios. Benefits of our method include: estimates of parameters in the presence of heterogeneity, and reasonable power even when the proportion of linked trios is small. Also, we have extended multi-locus methods to TDT-HET and have demonstrated that the empirical power may be high to detect linkage. Last, given that we obtain PPBs, we conjecture that the TDT-HET may be a useful method for correctly identifying linked trios. We anticipate that researchers will find this property increasingly useful as they apply next-generation sequencing data in family based studies.
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