Mechanisms of Epileptogenesis in Pediatric Epileptic Syndromes: Rasmussen Encephalitis, Infantile Spasms, and Febrile Infection-related Epilepsy Syndrome (FIRES)

Carlos A. Pardo, Rima Nabbout, Aristea S. Galanopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mechanisms of epileptogenesis in pediatric epileptic syndromes are diverse, and may involve disturbances of neurodevelopmental trajectories, synaptic homeostasis, and cortical connectivity, which may occur during brain development, early infancy, or childhood. Although genetic or structural/metabolic factors are frequently associated with age-specific epileptic syndromes, such as infantile spasms and West syndrome, other syndromes may be determined by the effect of immunopathogenic mechanisms or energy-dependent processes in response to environmental challenges, such as infections or fever in normally-developed children during early or late childhood. Immune-mediated mechanisms have been suggested in selected pediatric epileptic syndromes in which acute and rapidly progressive encephalopathies preceded by fever and/or infections, such as febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome, or in chronic progressive encephalopathies, such as Rasmussen encephalitis. A definite involvement of adaptive and innate immune mechanisms driven by cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes and neuroglial responses has been demonstrated in Rasmussen encephalitis, although the triggering factor of these responses remains unknown. Although the beneficial response to steroids and adrenocorticotropic hormone of infantile spasms, or preceding fever or infection in FIRES, may support a potential role of neuroinflammation as pathogenic factor, no definite demonstration of such involvement has been achieved, and genetic or metabolic factors are suspected. A major challenge for the future is discovering pathogenic mechanisms and etiological factors that facilitate the introduction of novel targets for drug intervention aimed at interfering with the disease mechanisms, therefore providing putative disease-modifying treatments in these pediatric epileptic syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
JournalNeurotherapeutics
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Keywords

  • FIRES
  • Rasmussen encephalitis
  • West syndrome
  • epileptogenesis
  • infantile spasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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