Spectrum of phenotypes in female patients with epilepsy due to protocadherin 19 mutations

Nicola Specchio, Carla Marini, Alessandra Terracciano, Davide Mei, Marina Trivisano, Federico Sicca, Lucia Fusco, Raffaella Cusmai, Francesca Darra, Bernardo Dalla Bernardina, Enrico Bertini, Renzo Guerrini, Federico Vigevano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe clinical and neuropsychological features of six consecutive sporadic girls with protocadherin 19 (PCDH19) mutations. Methods: Following recent descriptions of PCDH19 mutation in girls with epilepsy, we sequenced this gene in patients with infantile or early childhood seizures onset, either focal or generalized, without an obvious etiology. Key Findings: Mean age at the time of the study was 13.5 ± 11 years. Mean age at seizure onset was 15.5 ± 11 months (range 9-38). All patients experienced clusters of either focal or generalized seizures, precipitated during febrile illness in five patients. Attacks were very frequent at onset, but they became less numerous during follow-up. Ictal electroencephalography (EEG) showed temporal lobe involvement in five patients. Periictal EEG showed focal or multifocal epileptiform and slow abnormalities. Cognitive impairment became obvious after seizure onset in three patients and was associated with autistic features in two. Genetic analysis revealed five new and one known de novo PCDH19 mutation that were missense in four and frameshift in two. Variants are clustered in the large exon 1, corresponding to the extracellular domain of the PCDH19 protein. Significance: Our findings emphasize that de novo PCDH19 mutations are associated with infantile or early childhood onset of febrile or afebrile seizures often occurring in clusters. Cognitive impairment is not constantly present and autistic features are observed in some patients. Most patients have a "stormy" seizure onset, often related to fever; however, seizure severity does not clearly correlate with the degree of cognitive deficit. PCDH19 is likely a major epilepsy gene; phenotypes associated with mutations of this gene range from epileptic encephalopathies to mild epilepsy, yet large series of patients will be necessary to fully delineate phenotypic spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Dravet syndrome
  • Early childhood epilepsy
  • Febrile seizures
  • Focal seizures
  • Generalized seizures
  • Genetics
  • Infantile epilepsy
  • Protocadherin 19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectrum of phenotypes in female patients with epilepsy due to protocadherin 19 mutations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this