Focal cortical malformations in children with early infantile epilepsy and PCDH19 mutations: case report

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2018 Jan;60(1):100-105. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.13595. Epub 2017 Oct 24.


In this case report we assess the occurrence of cortical malformations in children with early infantile epilepsy associated with variants of the gene protocadherin 19 (PCDH19). We describe the clinical course, and electrographic, imaging, genetic, and neuropathological features in a cohort of female children with pharmacoresistant epilepsy. All five children (mean age 10y) had an early onset of epilepsy during infancy and a predominance of fever sensitive seizures occurring in clusters. Cognitive impairment was noted in four out of five patients. Radiological evidence of cortical malformations was present in all cases and, in two patients, validated by histology. Sanger sequencing and Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification analysis of PCDH19 revealed pathogenic variants in four patients. In one patient, array comparative genomic hybridization showed a microdeletion encompassing PCDH19. We propose molecular testing and analysis of PCDH19 in patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy, with onset in early infancy, seizures in clusters, and fever sensitivity. Structural lesions are to be searched in patients with PCDH19 pathogenic variants. Further, PCDH19 analysis should be considered in epilepsy surgery evaluation even in the presence of cerebral structural lesions.

What this paper adds: Focal cortical malformations and monogenic epilepsy syndromes may coexist. Structural lesions are to be searched for in patients with protocadherin 19 (PCDH19) pathogenic variants with refractory focal seizures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy* / genetics
  • Epilepsy* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Malformations of Cortical Development* / diagnostic imaging
  • Malformations of Cortical Development* / epidemiology
  • Malformations of Cortical Development* / genetics
  • Malformations of Cortical Development* / pathology
  • Protocadherins


  • Cadherins
  • PCDH19 protein, human
  • Protocadherins