Mapping an X-linked locus that influences heat-induced febrile seizures in mice.

PMID 22780306


Febrile seizures (FS) are the most common seizure type in children between the age of 6 months and 5 years. Although FS are largely benign, recurrent FS are a major risk factor for developing temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) later in life. The mechanisms underlying FS are largely unknown; however, family and twin studies indicate that FS susceptibility is under complex genetic control. We have recently developed a phenotypic screen to study the genetics of FS susceptibility in mice. Using this screen in a phenotype-driven genetic strategy we analyzed the C57BL/6J-Chr #(A)/NaJ chromosome substitution strain (CSS) panel. In each CSS line one chromosome of the A/J strain is substituted in a genetically homogeneous C57BL/6J background. The analysis of the CSS panel revealed that A/J chromosomes 1, 2, 6, 10, 13, and X carry at least one quantitative trait locus (QTL) for heat-induced FS susceptibility. The fact that many X-linked genes are highly expressed in the brain and have been implicated in human developmental disorders often presenting with seizures (like fragile X mental retardation) prompted us to map the chromosome X QTL. C57BL/6J mice were mated with C57BL/6J-Chr X(A) /NaJ (CSSX) to generate F(2)-generations-CXBL6 and BL6CX-originating from CSSX or C57BL/6J mothers, respectively. Heat-induced FS were elicited on postnatal day 14 by exposure to a controlled warm airstream of 50°C. The latency to heat-induced FS is our phenotype. This phenotype has previously been validated by video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring. After phenotyping and genotyping the F(2)-population, QTL analysis was performed using R/QTL software. QTL analysis revealed a significant peak with an LOD-score of 3.25. The 1-LOD confidence interval (149,886,866-158,836,462 bp) comprises 52 protein coding genes, of which 34 are known to be brain expressed. Two of these brain-expressed genes have previously been linked to X-linked epilepsies, namely Cdkl5 and Pdha1. Our results show that the mouse genetics of X-linked FS susceptibility is complex, and that our heat-induced FS-driven genetic approach is a powerful tool for use in unraveling the complexities of this trait in mice. Fine-mapping and functional studies will be required to further identify the X-linked FS susceptibility genes.