Mutations associated with hypokalemic periodic paralysis: from hotspot regions to complete analysis of CACNA1S and SCN4A genes

Neurogenetics. 2022 Jan;23(1):19-25. doi: 10.1007/s10048-021-00673-2. Epub 2021 Oct 5.


Familial periodic paralyses (PPs) are inherited disorders of skeletal muscle characterized by recurrent episodes of flaccid muscle weakness. PPs are classified as hypokalemic (HypoPP), normokalemic (NormoPP), or hyperkalemic (HyperPP) according to the potassium level during the paralytic attacks. HypoPP is an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in the CACNA1S gene, encoding for Cav1.1 channel (HypoPP-1), or SCN4A gene, encoding for Nav1.4 channel (HypoPP-2). In the present study, we included 60 patients with a clinical diagnosis of HypoPP. Fifty-one (85%) patients were tested using the direct sequencing (Sanger method) of all reported HypoPP mutations in CACNA1S and SCN4A genes; the remaining 9 (15%) patients were analyzed through a next-generation sequencing (NGS) panel, including the whole CACNA1S and SCN4A genes, plus other genes rarely associated to PPs. Fifty patients resulted mutated: 38 (76%) cases showed p.R528H and p.R1239G/H CACNA1S mutations and 12 (24%) displayed p.R669H, p.R672C/H, p.R1132G/Q, and p.R1135H SCN4A mutations. Forty-one mutated cases were identified among the 51 patients managed with Sanger sequencing, while all the 9 cases directly analyzed with the NGS panel showed mutations in the hotspot regions of SCN4A and CACNA1S. Ten out of the 51 patients unresolved through the Sanger sequencing were further analyzed with the NGS panel, without the detection of any mutation. Hence, our data suggest that in HypoPP patients, the extension of genetic analysis from the hotspot regions using the Sanger method to the NGS sequencing of the entire CACNA1S and SCN4A genes does not lead to the identification of new pathological mutations.

Keywords: CACNA1S and SCN4A genes; Hypokalemic periodic paralysis; Next-generation sequencing; Sanger method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis* / genetics
  • Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis* / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Mutation
  • NAV1.4 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / genetics


  • CACNA1S protein, human
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • NAV1.4 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • SCN4A protein, human