Progress in searching for the febrile seizure susceptibility genes

Brain Dev. 2009 May;31(5):359-65. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2008.11.014. Epub 2009 Feb 7.


Febrile seizures (FS) represent the most common form of childhood seizures. They affect 2-5% of infants in the Caucasian population and are even more common in the Japanese population, affecting 6-9% of infants. Some familial FS are associated with a wide variety of afebrile seizures. Generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) is a familial epilepsy syndrome with a spectrum of phenotypes including FS, atypical FS (FS+) and afebrile seizures. A significant genetic component exists for susceptibility to FS and GEFS+: extensive genetic studies have shown that at least nine loci are responsible for FS. Furthermore, mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel subunit genes (SCN1A, SCN2A and SCN1B) and the GABA(A) receptor subunit genes (GABRG2 and GABRD) have been identified in GEFS+. However, the causative genes have not been identified in most patients with FS or GEFS+. Common forms of FS are genetically complex disorders believed to be influenced by variations in several susceptibility genes. Recently, several association studies on FS have been reported, but the results vary among different groups and no consistent or convincing FS susceptibility gene has emerged. Herein, we review the genetic data reported in FS, including the linkage analysis, association studies, and genetic abnormalities found in the FS-related disorders such as GEFS+ and severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Chromosome Mapping / trends
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / trends
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics
  • Seizures, Febrile / genetics*
  • Seizures, Febrile / metabolism
  • Seizures, Febrile / physiopathology
  • Sodium Channels / genetics


  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • SCN1A protein, human
  • Sodium Channels