A Korean Kindred with Autosomal Dominant Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy and Mental Retardation

Yong Won Cho, Gholam K. Motamedi, Iris Laufenberg, Sung Il Sohn, Jeong Geun Lim, Hyung Lee, Sang Doe Yi, Ju Hwa Lee, Dae Kwang Kim, Richard Reba, William D. Gaillard, William H. Theodore, Ronald P. Lesser, Ortrud K. Steinlein

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69 Scopus citations


Background: A Korean family had distinctive clinical and neuroimaging features and carried the same genetic mutation that was found in a previously described Japanese kindred with autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. Objective: To describe the first Korean family with autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. Methods: Members of a large family, including 9 affected individuals from 3 generations, underwent a comprehensive genetic, clinical, electroencephalographic, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging evaluation. Affected members were tested for possible mutations in transmembrane regions 1 through 3 of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α4 subunit (CHRNA4) by direct sequencing and subsequent restriction analysis. Results: Seizures began in childhood, presenting as nocturnal episodes of staring, confusion, shouting, perioral movements, unintelligible speech, and hand waving. Some patients had ictal or interictal epileptiform activity in the temporal and/or frontocentral areas. Neurological examination and brain magnetic resonance imaging results showed no abnormalities, except that all patients available for testing had mild to moderate mental retardation. Fluorodeoxyglucose F 18 with positron emission tomography showed mild decreased glucose uptake in the superior and middle frontal regions, more so on the left than on the right. Patient response to carbamazepine was poor. All affected members were heterozygous for the CHRNA4 Ser252Leu mutation. Conclusions: Disorders associated with mutations in the transmembrane region 2 of CHRNA4 are genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous. Distinctive features of this kindred include (1) mental retardation in all affected members available for testing, (2) abnormal brain findings on fluorodeoxyglucose F 18 with positron emission tomography, (3) poor response to carbamazepine, and (4) full penetrance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1625-1632
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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