The role of inflammation in epileptogenesis

Annamaria Vezzani, Alon Friedman, Raymond J. Dingledine

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

368 Scopus citations


One compelling challenge in the therapy of epilepsy is to develop anti-epileptogenic drugs with an impact on the disease progression. The search for novel targets has focused recently on brain inflammation since this phenomenon appears to be an integral part of the diseased hyperexcitable brain tissue from which spontaneous and recurrent seizures originate. Although the contribution of specific proinflammatory pathways to the mechanism of ictogenesis in epileptic tissue has been demonstrated in experimental models, the role of these pathways in epileptogenesis is still under evaluation. We review the evidence conceptually supporting the involvement of brain inflammation and the associated blood-brain barrier damage in epileptogenesis, and describe the available pharmacological evidence where post-injury intervention with anti-inflammatory drugs has been attempted. Our review will focus on three main inflammatory pathways, namely the IL-1 receptor/Toll-like receptor signaling, COX-2 and the TGF-β signaling. The mechanisms underlying neuronal-glia network dysfunctions induced by brain inflammation are also discussed, highlighting novel neuromodulatory effects of classical inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and prostaglandins. The increase in knowledge about a role of inflammation in disease progression, may prompt the use of specific anti-inflammatory drugs for developing disease-modifying treatments. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'New Targets and Approaches to the Treatment of Epilepsy'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Astrocytes
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • COX-2
  • Cell loss
  • Cytokines
  • Microglia
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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