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Disease Profile

Subcortical band heterotopia

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Double cortex syndrome; Double cortex; DC


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Nervous System Diseases


Subcortical band heterotopia, also known as double cortex syndrome, is a condition of abnormal brain development that is present from birth. This condition which primarily affects females, occurs when neurons migrate to an area of the brain where they are not supposed to be (heterotopia), and form abnormal areas that appear as band-like clusters of white tissue underneath the gray tissue of the cerebral cortex (subcortical), creating the appearance of a double cortex. Symptoms associated with subcortical band heterotopia vary from severe intellectual disability and epilepsy to normal intelligence with mild or no epilepsy.[1][2] Subcortical band heterotopia is most often caused by mutations in the DCX gene. The condition is inherited in an X-linked dominant pattern.[1] Some cases may be caused by a small deletion on chromosome 17 involving the LIS1 gene.[1][3] Management consists of seizure control.[1] 


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
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Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Agenesis of corpus callosum
Death in infancy
Infantile death
Lethal in infancy

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Difficulty articulating speech
Gray matter heterotopia
Incomplete penetrance
Infantile onset
Onset in first year of life
Onset in infancy

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Intellectual disability
Mental deficiency
Mental retardation
Mental retardation, nonspecific

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Short penis
Small penis

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Motor delay
Muscular hypotonia of the trunk
Low muscle tone in trunk
Involuntary, rapid, rhythmic eye movements
Fewer and broader ridges in brain
Postnatal growth retardation
Growth delay as children
Involuntary muscle stiffness, contraction, or spasm
X-linked inheritance


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Organizations Providing General Support

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      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • MedlinePlus Genetics contains information on Subcortical band heterotopia. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
      • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

        In-Depth Information

        • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.
        • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Subcortical band heterotopia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


          1. Hehr U, Uyanik G, Aigner L, Couillard-Despres S, Winkler J. DCX-Related Disorders. GeneReviews. 2011; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1185/. Accessed 12/3/2012.
          2. DCX. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). 2008; https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene=dcx. Accessed 12/3/2012.
          3. Passaro EA. Neuroimaging in Epilespy Surgery. Medscape Reference. 2011; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1155295-overview. Accessed 12/3/2012.