When should clinicians search for GLUT1 deficiency syndrome in childhood generalized epilepsies?

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2015 Mar;19(2):170-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2014.11.009. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


GLUT1 deficiency (GLUT1D) has recently been identified as an important cause of generalized epilepsies in childhood. As it is a treatable condition, it is crucial to determine which patients should be investigated.

Methods: We analyzed SLC2A1 for mutations in a group of 93 unrelated children with generalized epilepsies. Fasting lumbar puncture was performed following the identification of a mutation. We compared our results with a systematic review of 7 publications of series of patients with generalized epilepsies screened for SLC2A1 mutations.

Results: We found 2/93 (2.1%) patients with a SLC2A1 mutation. One, carrying a novel de novo deletion had epilepsy with myoclonic-atonic seizures (MAE), mild slowing of head growth, choreiform movements and developmental delay. The other, with a paternally inherited missense mutation, had childhood absence epilepsy with atypical EEG features and paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesia (PED) initially misdiagnosed as myoclonic seizures. Out of a total of 1110 screened patients with generalized epilepsies from 7 studies, 2.4% (29/1110) had GLUT1D. This rate was higher (5.6%) among 303 patients with early onset absence epilepsy (EOAE) from 4 studies. About 50% of GLUT1D patients had abnormal movements and 41% a family history of seizures, abnormal movements or both.

Conclusion: GLUT1D is most likely to be found in MAE and in EOAE. The probability of finding GLUT1D in the classical idiopathic generalized epilepsies is very low. Pointers to GLUT1D include an increase in seizures before meals, cognitive impairment, or PED which can easily be overlooked.

Keywords: GLUT1 deficiency; Generalized epilepsy; SLC2A1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / genetics*
  • Epilepsy, Absence / genetics*
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / genetics*
  • Female
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / deficiency*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Sequence Deletion


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • SLC2A1 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Epilepsy, Idiopathic Generalized