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Archivos argentinos de pediatría

Print version ISSN 0325-0075


FEJERMAN, Natalio. Genetic etiologies associated with severe epilepsies in infancy. Arch. argent. pediatr. [online]. 2012, vol.110, n.5, pp.421-429. ISSN 0325-0075.

This is an update on severe epilepsies in infancy that are associated with genetic etiologies, either chromosomal abnormalities or gene mutations. These severe epilepsies may present the clinical and electroencephalographic phenotype of the so called epileptic encephalopathies, although a significant number of cases do not comply with the criteria to be included among the already known categories, as classified by the International League Against Epilepsy. Several chromosomal abnormalities, with or without a characteristic physical phenotype, are associated with epileptic encephalopathies in infants. Many patients are affected by metabolic or structural cerebral diseases of genetic etiology, in which seizures are not the only manifestation. Inborn errors of metabolism, deficiencies in cerebral transporters, mitochondrial encephalopathies, several neuroectodermosis, and part of the brain malformations and disorders of cortical development are examples. Recognition of new gene mutations in infants with epileptic encephalopathies or other severe epilepsies whose brain imaging studies, neurometabolic screenings and conventional cariotypes are normal, is emphasized in this review. An algorhythm for diagnosis and treatment of neonatal seizures with no determined etiology is also included. Finally, the new molecular genetics techniques applied in the diagnostic approach of these conditions, such as Array Comparative Genomic Hybridization, the identification of copy number variations and the eventual sequencing of genes, are commented but not described. The concept for pediatricians and pediatric neurologists is that mutations in one gene may provoke different epileptic syndromes, whereas one epileptic syndrome may be provoked by mutations in different genes.

Keywords : Severe epilepsies; Epileptic encephalopathies; Chromosomic abnormalities; Genetic diseases; Infancy.

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