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Genetic analysis of unexplained neonatal encephalopathy

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Journal Title:
Chinese Journal of Perinatal Medicine
Key Word:
脑疾病;意识障碍;癫痫;全外显子组测序;多态性,单核苷酸;婴儿,新生;Brain diseases;Consciousness disorders;Epilepsy;Whole exome sequencing;Polymorphism, single nucleotide;Infant, newborn

Abstract´╝Ü Objective:To explore the potential genetic causes of unexplained neonatal encephalopathy.Methods:This retrospective study enrolled 113 infants diagnosed with unexplained neonatal encephalopathy and underwent genetic testing in the Children's Hospital of Hunan Province from January 2019 to May 2021. Perinatal data, clinical manifestations, electroencephalograph, brain MRI findings, genetic information, and prognosis of those patients were analyzed. T-test or Chi-square test were used for data analysis. Results:Of the 113 infants enrolled, 74 (65.5%) were males. The gestational age at birth was (38.6±1.5) weeks, and the birth weight was (2 957±561) g. The most common clinical manifestation was the disturbance of consciousness (83/113, 73.5%), followed by seizures (39/113, 34.5%). There were 38.2% (34/89) of the patients with abnormal brain MRI, and 80.4% (74/92) presented abnormal electroencephalography. Among the 113 infants, 60 (53.1%) had genetic abnormalities, including 48 with single nucleotide variations, eight with copy number variations, and four with chromosome abnormalities. Single nucleotide variations in the 48 patients were classified into syndromic ( n=18, 37.5%), metabolic ( n=16, 33.3%), epileptic ( n=11, 22.9%) and mitochondrial-related genes ( n=3, 6.3%), of which 14 were not included in any database. Among the 103 cases which were successfully followed up until December 31, 2021, 75 (72.8%) had a poor prognosis, including 52 (50.5%) death cases and 23 (22.3%) cases of development retardation. Birth weight and the incidence of seizures in the poor prognosis group were both lower than those in the non-poor prognosis group [(2 876±536) vs (3 254±554) g, t=3.15; 29.3% (22/75) vs 53.6% (15/28), χ2=5.20; both P<0.05], while the incidence of disturbance of consciousness was higher [80.0% (60/75) vs 53.6% (15/28), χ2=7.19, P<0.05]. The proportion of infants with genetic abnormalities in the poor prognosis group was higher than that in the non-poor prognosis group, but the difference was not statistically significant [53.3% (40/75) vs 46.4% (13/28), χ2=0.39, P=0.533]. Conclusions:Genetic abnormality is one of the leading causes of unexplained neonatal encephalopathy. Nucleotide variation is the most common genetic type. Syndromic, metabolic, and epileptic variants are frequently detected in these patients.

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