Tuberous sclerosis complex: clinical features, diagnosis, and prevalence within Northern Ireland

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2006 Jun;48(6):495-9. doi: 10.1017/S0012162206001058.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the TSC1 and TSC2 genes on chromosomes 9 and 16 respectively. Diagnosis is based on clinical features but can be difficult as a result of variable phenotypic expression. With the advantage of mutation analysis in making a diagnosis of TSC, and improved identification of the associated clinical features, there have been few new data on its prevalence and on the proportion of cases due to new mutations. We have performed a retrospective epidemiological study on the prevalence of TSC, the clinical features attributed to it, and the availability of mutational analysis. We identified 73 known patients with TSC (5 deceased): 39 were female and 34 male. Ages ranged from 10 months to 69 years, with a mean age of 27 years 11 months (SD 16y 10mo). The point prevalence of TSC in our study was estimated at 1 out of 24 956 on the prevalence day (30 April 2004). The majority of patients (42.5%) were diagnosed at less than 15 months of age; 25% were not given a diagnosis on first developing symptoms. In all, 93.2% had epilepsy and 71.2% had a learning disability. A mutation was identified in 95.8% of those tested (26% TSC1 and 74% TSC2). TSC2 mutations were correlated with a more severe phenotype. The new mutation rate was calculated at 64%. We conclude that the prevalence of TSC is higher than previously calculated. We recommend that all children with epilepsy be assessed for features of TSC. Larger studies will be required to assess the prevalence of mutations in each gene, and genotype-phenotype correlation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemokine CCL26
  • Chemokines, CC / genetics
  • Child
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9 / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Northern Ireland / epidemiology
  • Phenotype*
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tuberous Sclerosis* / diagnosis
  • Tuberous Sclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Tuberous Sclerosis* / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics


  • CCL26 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL26
  • Chemokines, CC
  • TSC2 protein, human
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins