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Adv Neurol. 1999;79:351-74.

Mapping and positional cloning of common idiopathic generalized epilepsies: juvenile myoclonus epilepsy and childhood absence epilepsy.

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California Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine 90073, USA.


Among the 40 to 100 million persons with epilepsy worldwide and the 2 to 2.5 million persons with epilepsies in the United States, approximately 50% have generalized epilepsies. Among all epilepsies, the most common are juvenile myoclonus epilepsy (JME) with 10% to 30% of cases, childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) with 5% to 15% of cases, and pure grand mal on awakening with 22% to 37% of cases. In the last decade, six different chromosomal loci for common generalized epilepsies have been identified. These include two separate loci for JME in chromosomes 6p and 15q. The epilepsy locus in chromosome 6p expresses the phenotypes of classic JME, pure grand mal on awakening, and possibly JME mixed with absences. Two separate loci also are present for pyknoleptic CAE, namely, CAE that evolves to JME in chromosome 1p and CAE with grand mal in chromosome 8q24. Pandolfo et al. from the Italian League Against Epilepsy have reported two other putative susceptibility loci for idiopathic generalized epilepsies, namely, grand mal and generalized spike waves 35l in chromosome 3p and generalized epilepsies with febrile convulsions, grand mal, JME, absences, and electroencephalographic spike waves in 8q24. This chapter reports on the debate concerning whether there may be two separate epilepsy loci in chromosome 6p, one in the HLA region and one below HLA. The chapter then discusses the progress made in our laboratories as a result of the Genetic Epilepsy Studies (GENES) International Consortium. We discuss (a) the 2 to 6 cM critical region for classic JME located some 20 cM below HLA in chromosome 6p, (b) the 7-cM area for pyknoleptic CAE that evolves to JME in chromosome 1p, and (c) the 3.2 cM area for pyknoleptic CAE with grand mal and irregular 3 to 4 Hz spike waves in chromosome 8q24. We discusses efforts underway to refine the genetic map of JME in chromosome 6p11 and the advances in physical mapping and positioning of candidate genes, such as the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor gene, the potassium channel gene of the long-QT family (KvLQT), named KCNQ3, and the human homologue of the mouse jerky gene for CAE in chromosome 8q24 and JME in chromosome 6p11.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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