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Exp Neurol. 2018 Oct 19;311:247-256. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2018.10.010. [Epub ahead of print]

Gene expression profiling in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome.

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Department of Pharmacology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Department of Pharmacology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA. Electronic address:


Dravet syndrome is a severe, early-onset epileptic encephalopathy frequently resulting from de novo mutations of SCN1A. Mice with heterozygous deletion of Scn1a (Scn1a+/-) model many features of Dravet syndrome, including spontaneous seizures and premature lethality. Scn1a+/- mice exhibit variable phenotype penetrance and expressivity dependent upon the strain background. On the 129S6/SvEvTac (129) strain, Scn1a+/- mice do not display an overt phenotype. However Scn1a+/- mice on the [129S6xB6]F1 strain (F1.Scn1a+/-) exhibit juvenile-onset spontaneous seizures and premature lethality. QTL mapping identified several modifier loci responsible for strain-dependent differences in survival of Scn1a+/- mice, but these loci do not account for all the observed phenotypic variance. Global RNA-seq analysis was performed to identify additional genes and pathways that may contribute to variable phenotypes. Hippocampal gene expression was analyzed in wild-type (WT) and Scn1a+/- mice on both F1 and 129 strains, at two time points during disease development. There were few gene expression differences between 129.WT and 129.Scn1a+/- mice and approximately 100 genes with small expression differences (6-36%) between F1.WT and F1.Scn1a+/- mice. Strain-specific gene expression differences were more pronounced, with dozens of genes with >1.5-fold expression differences between 129 and F1 strains. Age-specific and seizure-related gene expression differences were most prominent, with hundreds of genes with >2-fold differences in expression identified between groups with and without seizures, suggesting potential differences in developmental trajectory and/or homeostatic plasticity during disease onset. Global expression differences in the context of Scn1a deletion may account for strain-dependent variation in seizure susceptibility and survival observed in Scn1a+/- mice.


Epilepsy; Epileptic encephalopathy; Gene expression; RNA-seq; Seizure; Voltage-gated sodium channel

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