The role of autophagy in epileptogenesis and in epilepsy-induced neuronal alterations

Filippo Sean Giorgi, Francesca Biagioni, Paola Lenzi, Alessandro Frati, Francesco Fornai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent evidence suggests that autophagy alterations are present in a variety of neurological disorders. These range from neurodegenerative diseases to acute neurological insults. Thus, despite a role of autophagy was investigated in a variety of neurological diseases, only recently these studies included epilepsy. This was fostered by the evidence that rapamycin, a powerful autophagy inducer, strongly modulates a variety of seizure models and epilepsies. These findings were originally interpreted as the results of the inhibition exerted by rapamycin on the molecular complex named “mammalian Target of Rapamycin” (mTOR). Recently, an increasing number of papers demonstrated that mTOR inhibition produces a strong activation of the autophagy machinery. In this way, it is now increasingly recognized that what was once defined as mTORpathy in epileptogenesis may be partially explained by abnormalities in the autophagy machinery. The present review features a brief introductory statement about the autophagy machinery and discusses the involvement of autophagy in seizures and epilepsies. An emphasis is posed on evidence addressing both pros and cons making it sometime puzzling and sometime evident, the role of autophagy in the epileptic brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-862
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Autophagoproteasome
  • Autophagosome
  • Lafora disease
  • mTOR
  • Seizures
  • Tuberous sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)


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