Inherited and sporadic mutations in genes encoding for brain ion channels, affecting membrane expression or biophysical properties, have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by epilepsy, cognitive and behavioral deficits with significant phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Over the years, the screening of a growing number of patients and the functional characterization of newly identified mutations in ion channels genes allowed to recognize new phenotypes and to widen the clinical spectrum of known diseases. Furthermore, advancements in understanding disease pathogenesis at atomic level or using patient-derived iPSCs and animal models have been pivotal to orient therapeutic intervention and to put the basis for the development of novel pharmacological options for drug-resistant disorders. In this review we will discuss major improvements and critical issues concerning neurodevelopmental disorders caused by dysfunctions in brain sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride and ligand-gated ion channels.
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