Reports have suggested an association of juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) with an HLA-DR allele. We examined the HLA-DR and DQ frequencies in two populations of epilepsy patients: (1) JME patients and (2) patients with other forms of adolescent-onset, idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). We did DNA-based HLA typing on 24 JME patients and 24 patients with non-JME forms of adolescent-onset IGE, forms that are clinically similar to JME. In typing the HLA region, we paid particular attention to the alleles contributing to the HLA-DR13 type and also to the DQB1 locus alleles that are in linkage disequilibrium with the alleles that comprise the DR13 type. We also examined the HLA-DP locus, which is centromeric to the DR locus. The frequency of DR13 was significantly higher in JME compared with the non-JME patients. Nine JME patients, compared with two non-JME patients, carried that type (χ2 = 5.78 [p < 0.017, 1 df]). The odds ratio was 6.6. Furthermore, the DQB1 alleles in linkage disequilibrium with the alleles contributing to the DR13 type were also more frequent in JME than in non-JME epilepsy patients. The χ2 is highly significant (8.1, p < 0.005) with an odds ratio of 13.8. These results confirm that JME is an HLA-associated form of epilepsy. They also show that the JME locus probably lies within the HLA region, most likely between the HLA-DP and HLA-B loci. The association studies also confirm linkage results showing that JME is genetically different from some other IGEs and emphasize that careful diagnosis is critical to genetic studies of the epilepsies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology