Copy number variations in cryptogenic cerebral palsy

Neurology. 2015 Apr 21;84(16):1660-8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001494. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


Objective: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of copy number variations (CNVs) in children with cerebral palsy (CP) of unknown etiology, comprising approximately 20% of the CP population.

Methods: Fifty-two participants (age 10.5 ± 7.8 years; Gross Motor Function Classification System scale 2.8 ± 1.3) with nonprogressive pyramidal and/or extrapyramidal signs since infancy and no identified etiology were enrolled. Individuals with evidence of acquired causes were excluded. Participants underwent neurologic and clinical genetic examinations before the genomic testing. Chromosomal microarray analysis to detect CNVs was performed using the Affymetrix platform. CNVs identified were classified as pathogenic, likely pathogenic, likely benign, or benign. Only pathogenic and likely pathogenic CNVs were defined as clinically significant.

Results: Thirty-nine CNVs were found in 25 of 52 participants (48%). Sixteen participants (31%) had clinically significant CNVs: 10 pathogenic and 6 likely pathogenic, of which 7 were not previously associated with motor disability. Nine participants had likely benign CNVs. Clinically significant CNVs were more frequently de novo (12/16; p < 0.001) including in 5 of 8 individuals who had a first- or second-degree relative with a major neurologic disorder. Dysmorphic features and nonmotor comorbidities were more prevalent in individuals with clinically significant CNVs (p < 0.05 for both).

Conclusion: CNVs, most frequently de novo, are common in individuals with cryptogenic CP. We recommend CNV testing in individuals with CP of unknown etiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Cerebral Palsy / genetics*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Copy Number Variations / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence