Background: Epilepsy is a main feature of Mowat Wilson Syndrome (MWS), a congenital malformation syndrome caused by ZEB2 variants. The aim of this study was to investigate the long-term evolution of the electroclinical phenotype of MWS in a large population. Methods: Forty-individuals with a genetically confirmed diagnosis were enrolled. Three age groups were identified (t1 = 0–4; t2 = 5–12; t3 = >13 years); clinical data and EEG records were collected, analyzed, and compared for age group. Video-EEG recorded seizures were reviewed. Results: Thirty-six of 40 individuals had epilepsy, of whom 35/35 aged >5 years. Almost all (35/36) presented focal seizures at onset (mean age at onset 3.4 ± 2.3 SD) that persisted, reduced in frequency, in 7/22 individuals after the age of 13. Absences occurred in 22/36 (mean age at onset 7.2 ± 0.9 SD); no one had absences before 6 and over 16 years old. Paroxysmal interictal abnormalities in sleep also followed an age-dependent evolution with a significant increase in frequency at school age (p = 0.002) and a reduction during adolescence (p = 0.008). Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep occurred in 14/36 (13/14 aged 5–13 years old at onset). Seven focal seizure ictal video-EEGs were collected: all were long-lasting and more visible clinical signs were often preceded by prolonged electrical and/or subtle (erratic head and eye orientation) seizures. Valproic acid was confirmed as the most widely used and effective drug, followed by levetiracetam. Conclusions: Epilepsy is a major sign of MWS with a characteristic, age-dependent, electroclinical pattern. Improvement with adolescence/adulthood is usually observed. Our data strengthen the hypothesis of a GABAergic transmission imbalance underlying ZEB2-related epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108315
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Age dependent pattern
  • Genetic epilepsy
  • MWS
  • ZEB2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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