KCNB1 encephalopathy encompasses a broad phenotypic spectrum associating intellectual disability, behavioral disturbances, and epilepsies of various severity. Using standardized parental questionnaires, we aimed to capture the heterogeneity of the adaptive and behavioral features in a series of patients with KCNB1 pathogenic variants.
We included 25 patients with a KCNB1 encephalopathy, aged from 3.2 to 34.1 years (median = 10 years). Adaptive functioning was assessed in all patients using the French version of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Second Edition (VABS-II) questionnaire. We screened global behavior with the Childhood Behavioral Check-List (CBCL, Achenbach) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). We used a cluster analysis to identify subgroups of adaptive profiles.
VABS-II questionnaire showed pathological adaptive behavior in all participants with a severity of adaptive deficiency ranging from mild in 8/20 to severe in 7/20. Eight out of 16 were at risk of Attention Problems at the CBCL and 13/18 were at risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The adaptive behavior composite score significantly decreased with age (Spearman’s Rho=-0.72, p<0.001) but not the equivalent ages, suggesting stagnation and slowing but no regression over time. The clustering analysis identified two subgroups of patients, one showing more severe adaptive behavior. The severity of the epilepsy phenotype predicted the severity of the behavioral profile with a sensitivity of 70% and a specificity of 90.9%.
This study confirms the deleterious consequences of early-onset epilepsy in addition to the impact of the gene dysfunction in patients with KCNB1 encephalopathy. ASD and attention disorders are frequent. Parental questionnaires should be considered as useful tools for early screening and care adaptation.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.