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PloS one

Vigabatrin inhibits seizures and mTOR pathway activation in a mouse model of tuberous sclerosis complex.


PMID 23437388

Abstract

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder and cause of significant morbidity and mortality. Although antiseizure medication is the first-line treatment for epilepsy, currently available medications are ineffective in a significant percentage of patients and have not clearly been demonstrated to have disease-specific effects for epilepsy. While seizures are usually intractable to medication in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a common genetic cause of epilepsy, vigabatrin appears to have unique efficacy for epilepsy in TSC. While vigabatrin increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels, the precise mechanism of action of vigabatrin in TSC is not known. In this study, we investigated the effects of vigabatrin on epilepsy in a knock-out mouse model of TSC and tested the novel hypothesis that vigabatrin inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, a key signaling pathway that is dysregulated in TSC. We found that vigabatrin caused a modest increase in brain GABA levels and inhibited seizures in the mouse model of TSC. Furthermore, vigabatrin partially inhibited mTOR pathway activity and glial proliferation in the knock-out mice in vivo, as well as reduced mTOR pathway activation in cultured astrocytes from both knock-out and control mice. This study identifies a potential novel mechanism of action of an antiseizure medication involving the mTOR pathway, which may account for the unique efficacy of this drug for a genetic epilepsy.