COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Epileptic seizures and syndromes in twins: the importance of genetic factors

Marianne Juel Kjeldsen, Linda A Corey, Kaare Christensen, Mogens Laue Friis
Epilepsy Research 2003, 55 (1): 137-46
12948623
The role of genetic factors in the occurrence of epilepsy syndromes was studied in twins recruited from the population-based Danish Twin Registry. A total of 34,076 twins were screened for epilepsy. Cases were confirmed and classified by two neurologists according to the classification systems of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). A total of 214 twin pairs with epileptic seizures and 190 pairs with epilepsy were ascertained. Significantly higher concordance rates were found for monozygotic (MZ) compared to dizygotic (DZ) twins for both epileptic seizures (0.56 for MZ and 0.21 for DZ pairs, P<0.001) and for epilepsy (0.49 for MZ and 0.16 for DZ pairs, P<0.001). Concordance rates were also higher for MZ twins compared to DZ twins for both generalized epilepsy (0.65 for MZ and 0.12 for DZ) and for localization-related epilepsy (0.30 for MZ and 0.10 for DZ). In twin pairs where both members had seizures, 83% of MZ and 65% of DZ pairs had the same major epilepsy syndrome. Genetic factors were found to account for 80% of the liability to both epileptic seizures and epilepsy. In conclusion, analysis of this neurologist-verified epilepsy twin data set has confirmed that genetic factors have a substantial impact on the etiology of epileptic seizures as well as on the occurrence of both generalized and partial epilepsies.

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