Genes and susceptibility genetic factors in human epilepsies Volume 19, issue 4, Octobre, Novembre, Décembre 2007

Inserm - UMR491, Faculté de Médecine, 27 Bd J Moulin, 13385 Marseille Cedex 5, France

The genetic origin of a large proportion of human epilepsies is well known. In the last decade, several genes, mostly encoding ion channel subunits, have been shown to cause rare epileptic syndromes inherited as simple (Mendelian) genetic traits. Even though not proven yet, these genes as well as other genetic and nongenetic factors might also participate in the much more frequent common epilepsies that are inherited as complex traits or even that look sporadic. Thanks to novel technological tools and taking into account the data that have already been obtained, genetic studies must now be considered on a large scale basis in order to identify the numerous genes and genetic defects (rare DNA variations, polymorphisms, genomic alterations) that are involved in those common epilepsies.