Autosomal dominant early-onset cortical myoclonus, photic-induced myoclonus, and epilepsy in a large pedigree

Elena Gardella, Paolo Tinuper, Carla Marini, Renzo Guerrini, Elena Parrini, Francesca Bisulli, Rocco Liguori, Pasquale Montagna, Elio Lugaresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Cortical tremor, a form of rhythmic cortical myoclonus (rhythmic CM), and epilepsy have been described in families with autosomal dominant inheritance. Linkage analyses revealed two putative loci on chromosome 2p and 8q. Clinical photosensitivity was not a prominent feature in such families. We describe a large Italian family with rhythmic CM, photosensitivity, and epilepsy. Methods: Twenty-three individuals of a five-generation family were studied. Linkage analyses for the loci on chromosome 2p11.1 and 8q23.3 were performed. Results: Of the 23 studied family members, 16 were affected. Rhythmic CM of childhood onset was present in all 16 individuals (onset ranging from 3 to 12 years), was associated with photic-induced myoclonic jerks in seven, and with epileptic seizures in six (onset ranging from 23 to 34 years). Five children of the V generation manifested also episodes of arousal with generalized tremor in early infancy ("tremulous arousals"). Jerk-locked back-averaging of rhythmic CM of six affected individuals, documented a premyoclonic EEG correlate. C-reflex at rest was present in two affected adults. Linkage analyses excluded mapping to the 2p11.1 and 8q23.3 loci. Conclusions: Clinical variability and severity of the phenotypes in this family are in line with those of previously described pedigrees with autosomal dominant cortical myoclonus and epilepsy. In this family, a progression of symptoms was found: rhythmic CM and tremulous arousals occurred in childhood, whereas visually induced manifestations and epileptic seizures occurred during adolescence-adulthood. Exclusion of linkage to the two known loci is consistent with genetic heterogeneity of such familial clustering of symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1649
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Autosomal dominant
  • Cortical myoclonus
  • Cortical tremor
  • Epilepsy
  • Photosensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Autosomal dominant early-onset cortical myoclonus, photic-induced myoclonus, and epilepsy in a large pedigree'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this