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Epilepsia. 2008 Jun;49(6):1027-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01520.x. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

The three stages of epilepsy in patients with CDKL5 mutations.

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Département de Pédiatrie, Service de Neurologie Pédiatrique, Hopital Necker Enfants Malades, AP-HP, Paris V, Paris, France.


Mutations in the X-linked cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5 (CDKL5) gene are responsible for a severe encephalopathy with early epilepsy. So far, the electroclinical phenotype remains largely unknown and no clear genotype-phenotype correlations have been established.


To characterize the epilepsy associated with CDKL5 mutations and to look for a relationship between the genotype and the course of epilepsy.


We retrospectively analyzed the electroclinical phenotypes of 12 patients aged from 2.5 to 19 years diagnosed with pathogenic CDKL5 mutations and one patient with a novel intronic sequence variation of uncertain pathogenicity and examined whether the severity of the epilepsy was linked to the type and location of mutations.


The epilepsy course reveals three successive stages: (Stage I) early epilepsy (onset 1-10 weeks) with normal interictal electroencephalogram (EEG) (10/13) despite frequent convulsive seizures; (Stage II) epileptic encephalopathy with infantile spasms (8/8) and hypsarrhythmia (8/8). At the age of evaluation, seven patients were seizure free and six had developed refractory epilepsy (stage III) with tonic seizures and myoclonia (5/6). Interestingly, the patients carrying a CDKL5 mutations causing a truncation of the catalytic domain tended to develop a more frequent refractory epilepsy than patients with mutations located downstream (4/6, 66.6% versus 1/6, 16%) although, these trends are not yet significant.


Our data contribute to a better definition of the epileptic phenotype in CDKL5 mutations, and might give some clues to a potential relationship between the phenotype and the genotype in these patients.

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