Ehlers-Danlos syndrome: a cause of epilepsy and periventricular heterotopia

Seizure. 2014 Nov;23(10):819-24. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2014.07.014. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


Purpose: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) comprises a variety of inherited connective tissue disorders that have been described in association with various neurological features. Until now the neurological symptoms have not been studied in detail; therefore, the aim of this review is to analyze the possible association between EDS, epilepsy and periventricular heterotopia (PH).

Methods: We have carried out a critical review of all cases of epilepsy in EDS patients with and without PH.

Results: Epilepsy is a frequent neurological manifestation of EDS; generally, it is characterized by focal seizures with temporo-parieto-occipital auras and the most common EEG findings epileptiform discharges and slow intermittent rhythm with delta-theta waves. Epilepsy in EDS patients is usually responsive to common antiepileptic therapy; very few cases of drug resistant focal epilepsy requested surgical treatment, with favorable results in terms of outcome. Epilepsy is the most common presenting neurological manifestation associated with PH in EDS patients. Abnormal anatomic circuitries (including heterotopic nodules) could generate epilepsy in patients with PH.

Conclusion: Among the principal neurological manifestations, epilepsy and PH have a considerable importance and can influence the long-term evolution of these patients. We hypothesize that PH may determine the epileptic manifestations in patients with EDS; much remains to be learnt about the relationships between nodules and the epileptic manifestations in EDS syndrome.

Keywords: Ehlers–Danlos syndrome; Epilepsy; Nodular heterotopia; Periventricular heterotopia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / complications
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / genetics
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia / complications
  • Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia / diagnosis*
  • Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia / genetics
  • Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia / physiopathology