November 12, 2020

Review Assesses Whether Seizures in Models of Rare Neurodevelopmental Disorders Are Similar to Those Seen in Humans

Abstract, originally published in Neuroscience

Genetic neurodevelopmental disorders – that often include epilepsy as part of their phenotype – are a heterogeneous and clinically challenging spectrum of disorders in children. Although seizures often contribute significantly to morbidity in these affected populations, the mechanisms of epileptogenesis in these conditions remain poorly understood. Different model systems have been developed to aid in unraveling these mechanisms, which include a number of specific mutant mouse lines which genocopy specific general types of mutations present in patients. These mouse models have not only allowed for assessments of behavioral and electrographic seizure phenotypes to be ascertained, but also have allowed effects on the neurodevelopmental alterations and cognitive impairments associated with these disorders to be examined. In addition, these models play a role in advancing our understanding of these epileptic processes and developing preclinical therapeutics. The concordance of seizure phenotypes – in a select group of rare, genetic, neurodevelopmental disorders and epileptic encephalopathies – found between human patients and their model counterparts will be summarized. This review aims to assess whether models of Rett syndrome, CDKL5 deficiency disorder, Fragile-X syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and Ohtahara syndrome phenocopy the seizures seen in human patients.