Inflammation and reactive oxygen species as disease modifiers in epilepsy

Gaetano Terrone, Silvia Balosso, Alberto Pauletti, Teresa Ravizza, Annamaria Vezzani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neuroinflammation and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are rapidly induced in the brain after acute cerebral injuries that are associated with an enhanced risk for epilepsy in humans and related animal models. These phenomena reinforce each others and persist during epileptogenesis as well as during chronic spontaneous seizures. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant drugs transiently administered either before, or shortly after the clinical onset of symptomatic epilepsy, similarly block the progression of spontaneous seizures, and may delay their onset. Moreover, neuroprotection and rescue of cognitive deficits are also observed in the treated animals. Therefore, although these treatments do not prevent epilepsy development, they offer clinically relevant disease-modification effects. These therapeutic effects are mediated by targeting molecular signaling pathways such as the IL-1β-IL-1 receptor type 1 and TLR4, P2X7 receptors, the transcriptional anti-oxidant factor Nrf2, while the therapeutic impact of COX-2 inhibition for reducing spontaneous seizures remains controversial. Some anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant drugs that are endowed of disease modification effects in preclinical models are already in medical use and have a safety profile, therefore, they provide potential re-purposed treatments for improving the disease course and for reducing seizure burden. Markers of neuroinflammation and oxidative stress can be measured in blood or by neuroimaging, therefore they represent testable prognostic and predictive biomarkers for selecting the patient's population at high risk for developing epilepsy therefore eligible for novel treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107742
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 14 2019


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