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J Child Neurol. 2006 Mar;21(3):199-204.

Study of the relationship between tuberous sclerosis complex and autistic disorder.

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1
Division of Neurodevelopmental Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. vcnwong@hkucc.hku.hk

Abstract

There has been increasing awareness that there are behavioral phenotypes in tuberous sclerosis complex with neuropsychiatric symptom complex such as autistic disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the neurobiologic basis of autistic disorder in tuberous sclerosis complex is still unknown. We studied two cohorts of children followed up since 1986 until 2003, one cohort with tuberous sclerosis complex and another cohort with autistic disorder, to determine the incidence of autistic disorder in tuberous sclerosis complex and the incidence of tuberous sclerosis complex in autistic disorder respectively. We established a Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Registry in 1985 at the University of Hong Kong. In 2004, 44 index cases (the male to female ratio was 0.75:1) were registered. Three had a positive family history of tuberous sclerosis complex. Thus, the total number of tuberous sclerosis complex cases was 47. We adopted the diagnostic criteria of tuberous sclerosis complex for case ascertainment. The period prevalence rate of tuberous sclerosis complex for children and adolescents aged < 20 years is 3.5 per 10,000 (on Hong Kong island, excluding the eastern region with 125,100 aged < 20 years in 2003). Of 44 cases with tuberous sclerosis complex, 7 had autistic disorder. Thus, the incidence of autistic disorder in tuberous sclerosis complex is 16%. During the 17-year period (1986-2003), we collected a database of 753 children (668 boys and 84 girls; male to female ratio 8:1) with autistic disorder and pervasive developmental disorders. For all children with autistic disorder or pervasive developmental disorders, we routinely examined for any features of tuberous sclerosis complex by looking for neurocutaneous markers such as depigmented spots, which appear in 50% of children with tuberous sclerosis complex by the age of 2 years. For those with infantile spasm or epilepsy, the clinical features of tuberous sclerosis complex were monitored regularly during follow-up. Of these, seven had tuberous sclerosis complex. Thus, the incidence of tuberous sclerosis complex in autistic disorder is 0.9%. All of these children are mentally retarded, with moderate to severe grades in an intellectual assessment conducted by a clinical psychologist. Future studies should be directed toward looking at the various behavioral phenotypes in tuberous sclerosis complex and defining these with standardized criteria to look for any real association with the underlying genetic mutation of TSC1 or TSC2 gene or even the site of tubers in the brain.

PMID:
16901420
DOI:
10.2310/7010.2006.00046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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