Differences in behavioural phenotype between parental deletion and maternal uniparental disomy in Prader-willi syndrome: an ERP study

J.E.A. Stauder*, H. Boer, R.H.A. Gerits, A. Tummers, J. Whittington, L.M.G. Curfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Paternal deletion and maternal uniparental disomy are the principal genetic subtypes associated with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Recent clinical findings suggest differences in phenotype between these subtypes. The present experimental study addresses this issue using a cognitive psycho-physiological setup. Methods: Behaviour and event-related brain activity (ERP) was recorded by a continuous performance response inhibition task (CPT-AX) in adults with paternal deletion PWS (n = 11), maternal uniparental disomy PWS (n= 11) and normal controls (n = 11). The dependent behavioural variables of the CPT-AX task were reaction time and correct scores. For the ERPs the N200 and P300 components were included which are related to early modality-specific inhibition and late general inhibition, respectively. Results: The disomy group had fewer correct scores and increased reaction times as compared to the CPT-AX task than the control and deletion group. Both PWS subgroups differed significantly from the control group for the N200 amplitude. Only the control group showed the typical task modulation for the N200 amplitude. The amplitude of the P300 component was considerably smaller in the uniparental disomy group than in the deletion and control groups. Conclusions: The ERP results suggest that early modality specific inhibition is impaired in both PWS genetic subtypes. Late general inhibition is impaired in the umparental disomy group only. Thus, although the ERP data suggests a common impairment in early visual inhibition processing, uniparental disomy and parental deletion genetic PWS subtypes clearly differ in their behavioural and brain activation phenotypes. Significance: The present study is the first experimental demonstration which explains the two principal genetic mechanisms that hinder the expression of the genes at 15q11 -q13g in PWS result in different behavioural phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1464-1470
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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