Neuroinflammatory pathways as treatment targets and biomarkers in epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease characterized by an enduring propensity for generation of seizures. The pathogenic processes of seizure generation and recurrence are the subject of intensive preclinical and clinical investigations as their identification would enable development of novel treatments that prevent epileptic seizures and reduce seizure burden. Such treatments are particularly needed for pharmacoresistant epilepsies, which affect ~30% of patients.
Neuroinflammation is commonly activated in epileptogenic brain regions in humans and is clearly involved in animal models of epilepsy. An increased understanding of neuroinflammatory mechanisms in epilepsy has identified cellular and molecular targets for new mechanistic therapies or existing anti-inflammatory drugs that could overcome the limitations of current medications, which provide only symptomatic control of seizures. Moreover, inflammatory mediators in the blood and molecular imaging of neuroinflammation could provide diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers for epilepsy, which will be instrumental for patient stratification in future clinical studies. In this Review, we focus on our understanding of the IL-1 receptor–Toll-like receptor 4 axis, the arachidonic acid–prostaglandin cascade, oxidative stress and transforming growth factor-β signalling associated with blood–brain barrier dysfunction, all of which are pathways that are activated in pharmacoresistant epilepsy in humans and that can be modulated in animal models to produce therapeutic effects on seizures, neuronal cell loss and neurological comorbidities.