Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy
Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy Classification and external resources ICD-10 G40.3 ICD-9 345.1 OMIM 606904 254770 604827 608816 DiseasesDB 32202 eMedicine neuro/416 MeSH D020190
Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), also known as Janz syndrome, is a fairly common form of idiopathic generalized epilepsy, representing 5-10% of all epilepsies. This disorder typically first manifests itself between the ages of 12 and 18 with myoclonus occurring early in the morning. Most patients also have tonic-clonic seizures and many also have absence seizures. Linkage studies have demonstrated at least 6 loci for JME, 4 with known causative genes. Most of these genes are ion channels with the one non-ion channel gene having been shown to affect ion channel currents.
Signs and symptoms
Signs of JME are myoclonus occurring early in the morning. This rarely results in patients falling, but rather dropping objects. Attacks of myoclonia are more common in the arms than the legs. Other seizure types such as generalized tonic-clonic and absence seizures can also occur. Myoclonic seizures can also occur in the later part of the day, and are not limited to the arms and hands. They can also occur in the lower legs, causing sufferers to trip over their own feet. Clusters of myoclonics can lead to absence seizures, and clusters of absence seizures can lead to generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Expression can occur as young as 18 months of age. Males in some families do not survive the crisis point at 24 months of age.
CACNB4 encodes a calcium channel β subunit. β subunits are important regulators of calcium channel current amplitude, voltage dependence, and also regulate channel trafficking. The β4 isoform encoded by CACNB4 is most prevalent in the cerebellum. In mice, a naturally occurring null mutation leads to the "lethargic" phenotype, which is similar to JME. There are at least two mutations in the β4 subunit associated with JME, C104F and R482X. When wild-type α1A and β4 subunits are expressed in oocytes they produce large Ba2+ currents that inactivate slowly. Incorporation of either of the mutant β4 subunit into channels instead of wild-type subunits produces currents that are larger by 30-40%. The R482X mutation also increases the rate of fast inactivation of the channel. Since these effects are subtle, it is believed that they are contributory rather than completely causative for JME.
GABRA1 encodes an α subunit of the GABA A receptor, which encodes one of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors. There is one known mutation in this gene that is associated with JME, A322D, which is located in the third segment of the protein. Expression of the α1β2γ2 combination of subunits in HEK 293 cells produces 6-fold greater current than similar subunits compositions containing mutant α1 subunits. The mutation also results in greatly decreased sensitivity in the receptor for activation by GABA. This combination of mutant containing receptors also activates far more slowly than wild-type containing receptors. Although originally not reported to result in altered protein trafficking, more recent study has indicated that the A322D mutation reduced α1 subunit trafficking to the membrane by >90%. Heterozygous expression of wild-type and mutant subunits produces current approximately 50% the size of wild-type due to this altered trafficking.
The CLCN2 gene encodes a chloride channel that is heavily expressed in brain regions inhibited by GABA. It is believed to be important in maintaining a proper chloride reversal potential needed in inhibitory neurotransmission by GABA. There are three known mutations in CLCN2 associated with JME, M200fsX231, 74_117del, and G715E. Neither the M200fsX231 nor the 74_117del mutation yield current when expressed in cells. Since these channels are responsible for the removal of intracellular chloride, these mutations are expected to lead to increased chloride concentrations and, thus, altered chloride reversal potential (ECl). As chloride is conducted through the normally inhibitory GABA receptors, this alteration in ECl may lead to either decreased GABAergic currents or GABAergic currents that are actually excitatory. The G715E mutation, on the other hand, produces normal sized currents but has altered voltage dependent activation. For this mutant, activation occurs at more positive potentials compared to wild-type channels. This may cause increased neuronal excitability.
GABRD encodes the δ subunit of the GABA receptor, which is a subunit yielding receptors which do not desensitize and are localized outside of the synapse. There are three mutations in this gene associated with JME, E177A, R220C, and R220H, all located in the N-terminus of the protein. The last of these mutations is also present in normal controls. Receptors containing the E177A mutation have greatly decreased current compared to wild-type. This is not the case for the R220C mutation but is similar to the R220H mutation, though to a lesser extent than the E177A mutation. More recent study has found that the E177A mutant also has greatly decreased desensitization compared to wild-type receptors. Receptors containing only E177A or R220H mutants, versus heterozygotes, had significantly decreased surface expression compared to wild-type or heterozygotic receptors. These mutants also have decreased single-channel open times compared to wild-type. It should be noted, however, that these mutations are very rare as causes of JME.
The final known associated gene is EFHC1, which is poorly understood. EFHC1 has three DM10 domains (themselves of unknown function) and an EF hand motif, which is known to bind intracellular calcium. EFHC1 is expressed in many tissues, including the brain, where it is localized to the soma and dendrites of neurons, particularly the hippocampal CA1 region, pyramidal neurons in the cerebral cortex, and Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. There are 5 mutations in EFHC1 associated with JME; D210N, F229L, D253Y, P77T and R221H. The last two mutations were originally detected as a pair in the same individual. EFHC1 seems to be involved in programmed cell death as EFHC1 transfected cells have a higher rate of apoptosis. This rate is decreased by the double mutations P77T + R221H. Wild-type EFHC1 increased the R-type calcium channel currents in transfected cells. This stimulation is decreased by JME associated mutations. Because of this, programmed cell death is decreased and the pruning of unwanted neurons may be hampered. As with some other loci, mutations in EFHC1 is not a common loci for JME. More recently, R221H has been found without P77T in one JME kindred.
Relation to other rare disorders
Until recently, the medical literature did not indicate a connection among many genetic disorders, both genetic syndromes and genetic diseases, that are now being found to be related. As a result of new genetic research, some of these are, in fact, highly related in their root cause despite the widely-varying set of medical symptoms that are clinically visible in the disorders. This emerging class of diseases are called ciliopathies. The underlying cause may be a dysfunctional molecular mechanism in the primary cilia structures of the cell, organelles which are present in many cellular types throughout the human body. The cilia defects adversely affect "numerous critical developmental signaling pathways" essential to cellular development and thus offer a plausible hypothesis for the often multi-symptom nature of a large set of syndromes and diseases. Known ciliopathies include primary ciliary dyskinesia, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, polycystic kidney and liver disease, nephronophthisis, Alstrom syndrome, Meckel-Gruber syndrome and some forms of retinal degeneration. It has been suggested that juvenile myoclonic epilepsy may be a ciliopathy.
Diagnosis is typically made based on patient history. EEG recordings are also sometimes used as confirmation.
Before giving Carbamazepine do ask for history of early morning seizures and or jerks/twitches especially in a young person. Carbamazepine aggravates these.
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