The need to find measures that reliably predict the onset of epilepsy after injurious events or how the patient will respond to anti-seizure drugs led to intensive pre-clinical and clinical research to discover non-invasive biomarkers that could increase the sensitivity of existing clinical indicators. The use of experimental models of epileptogenesis and of drug-resistance is instrumental to select the most promising approaches to explore such biomarkers in the pre-clinical setting for further clinical validation. The approaches most frequently used to find clinically useful biomarkers of epileptogenesis include molecular brain imaging, EEG signal analysis and the measure of soluble molecules in biofluids which may reflect brain intrinsic events involved in epilepsy development. Among those, we focused our attention on proton magnetic resonance imaging (1H-MRS)-based analysis of astrocytic activation, and related blood biomarkers, since this cell population appears to be pivotally involved in various epileptogenesis processes triggered by differing insults. Moreover, we also investigated behavioral biomarkers by focusing on cognitive dysfunctions since this deficit represents a typical co-morbidity in epilepsy which may manifest even before the onset of spontaneous seizures. In this review article, we will report our recently published evidence supporting the utility of measuring astrocyte activation, the soluble molecules they release, and the associated cognitive deficits during epileptogenesis for early stratification of animals developing epilepsy. We will discuss the potential clinical translation of our findings for enriching the patient population in preventive clinical trials designed to study anti-epileptogenic treatments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience