Familial infantile convulsions and paroxysmal choreoathetosis: a new neurological syndrome linked to the pericentromeric region of human chromosome 16

Am J Hum Genet. 1997 Oct;61(4):889-98. doi: 10.1086/514877.


Benign infantile familial convulsions is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by nonfebrile seizures, with the first attack occurring at age 3-12 mo. It is one of the rare forms of epilepsy that are inherited as monogenic Mendelian traits, thus providing a powerful tool for mapping genes involved in epileptic syndromes. Paroxysmal choreoathetosis is an involuntary-movement disorder characterized by attacks that occur spontaneously or are induced by a variety of stimuli. Classification is still elusive, and the epileptic nature of this movement disorder has long been discussed and remains controversial. We have studied four families from northwestern France in which benign infantile convulsions was inherited as an autosomal dominant trait together with variably expressed paroxysmal choreoathetosis. The human genome was screened with microsatellite markers regularly spaced, and strong evidence of linkage for the disease gene was obtained in the pericentromeric region of chromosome 16, with a maximum two-point LOD score, for D16S3133, of 6.76 at a recombination fraction of 0. Critical recombinants narrowed the region of interest to a 10-cM interval around the centromere. Our study provides the first genetic evidence for a common basis of convulsive and choreoathetotic disorders and will help in the understanding and classification of paroxysmal neurological syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Athetosis / genetics*
  • Centromere*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chorea / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16*
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lod Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Seizures / genetics*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Syndrome


  • Genetic Markers