Brain Somatic Mutations in Epileptic Disorders

Mol Cells. 2018 Oct 31;41(10):881-888. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2018.0247. Epub 2018 Oct 10.


During the cortical development, cells in the brain acquire somatic mutations that can be implicated in various neurodevelopmental disorders. There is increasing evidence that brain somatic mutations lead to sporadic form of epileptic disorders with previously unknown etiology. In particular, malformation of cortical developments (MCD), ganglioglioma (GG) associated with intractable epilepsy and non-lesional focal epilepsy (NLFE) are known to be attributable to brain somatic mutations in mTOR pathway genes and others. In order to identify such somatic mutations presenting as low-level in epileptic brain tissues, the mutated cells should be enriched and sequenced with high-depth coverage. Nevertheless, there are a lot of technical limitations to accurately detect low-level of somatic mutations. Also, it is important to validate whether identified somatic mutations are truly causative for epileptic seizures or not. Furthermore, it will be necessary to understand the molecular mechanism of how brain somatic mutations disturb neuronal circuitry since epilepsy is a typical example of neural network disorder. In this review, we overview current genetic techniques and experimental tools in neuroscience that can address the existence and significance of brain somatic mutations in epileptic disorders as well as their effect on neuronal circuitry.

Keywords: epilepsy; epileptogenesis; network; next generation sequencing; somatic mutation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Mutation