A Quantitative Electrophysiological Biomarker …

April 6, 2017

A Quantitative Electrophysiological Biomarker of Duplication 15q11.2-q13.1 Syndrome


Duplications of 15q11.2-q13.1 (Dup15q syndrome) are highly penetrant for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A distinct electrophysiological (EEG) pattern characterized by excessive activity in the beta band has been noted in clinical reports. We asked whether EEG power in the beta band, as well as in other frequency bands, distinguished children with Dup15q syndrome from those with non-syndromic ASD and then examined the clinical correlates of this electrophysiological biomarker in Dup15q syndrome.


In the first study, we recorded spontaneous EEG from children with Dup15q syndrome (n = 11), age-and-IQ-matched children with ASD (n = 10) and age-matched typically developing (TD) children (n = 9) and computed relative power in 6 frequency bands for 9 regions of interest (ROIs). Group comparisons were made using a repeated measures analysis of variance. In the second study, we recorded spontaneous EEG from a larger cohort of individuals with Dup15q syndrome (n = 27) across two sites and examined age, epilepsy, and duplication type as predictors of beta power using simple linear regressions.


In the first study, spontaneous beta1 (12–20 Hz) and beta2 (20–30 Hz) power were significantly higher in Dup15q syndrome compared with both comparison groups, while delta (1–4 Hz) was significantly lower than both comparison groups. Effect sizes in all three frequency bands were large (|d| > 1). In the second study, we found that beta2 power was significantly related to epilepsy diagnosis in Dup15q syndrome.


Here, we have identified an electrophysiological biomarker of Dup15q syndrome that may facilitate clinical stratification, treatment monitoring, and measurement of target engagement for future clinical trials. Future work will investigate the genetic and neural underpinnings of this electrophysiological signature as well as the functional consequences of excessive beta oscillations in Dup15q syndrome.

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