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Penetrance and expressivity of genes involved in the development of epilepsy in the genetically epilepsy-prone rat (GEPR).

Kurtz BS, Lehman J, Garlick P, Amberg J, Mishra PK, Dailey JW, Weber R, Jobe PC
J Neurogenet. 2001 15 (3-4): 233-44

PMID: 12092906 · DOI:10.3109/01677060109167379

In order to understand the level of complexity of the epileptic phenotype in the two strains of Genetically Epilepsy-Prone Rats (GEPRs), we determined two important measures of genetic complexity, penetrance and expressivity. Penetrance is the percentage of animals of a specific genotype who express the phenotype associated with that underlying genotype. Expressivity refers to the degree that a particular genotype is expressed as a phenotype within an individual. Incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity are caused by genetic and environmental variation. In this paper we have studied the epileptic phenotype for 20,373 rats. Animals were tested on three occasions for audiogenic seizure and given an audiogenic response score (on a scale of 0-9, 0 being no seizure and 9 being the most severe). The GEPR-3 and GEPR-9 animals both show incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity of the underlying genetic predisposition. The GEPR-9 strain has more animals that have variable levels of seizure predisposition (as measured by a scoring system that denotes the severity of generalized tonic/clonic seizures) and a greater percentage of animals that exhibit no susceptibility to such seizures induced by sound. Both strains have a number of animals that are not susceptible to sound-induced GTCSs and that exhibit some variability in seizure severity. The GEPR-9 males show greater differences in expressivity and penetrance compared to GEPR-9 females. The GEPR-3 animals also show sex-associated variable penetrance and expressivity of the epileptic phenotype, although the differences are much smaller. These findings are the first step toward the mapping of the underlying quantitative trait loci (QTL) for seizure in these animals.

MeSH Terms (12)

Animals Epilepsy Female Gene Expression Genetic Predisposition to Disease Male Penetrance Quantitative Trait, Heritable Rats Rats, Sprague-Dawley Sex Characteristics Species Specificity

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