Current treatments for epilepsy suffer from significant limitations, including medical intractability and lack of disease-modifying or anti-epileptogenic actions. As most current seizure medications modulate ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors, more effective therapies likely need to target completely different mechanisms of action. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway represents a potential novel therapeutic target for epilepsy. mTOR inhibitors can suppress seizures and prevent epilepsy in animal models of certain genetic epilepsies, such as tuberous sclerosis complex. mTOR inhibitors may also be effective in some models of acquired epilepsy related to brain injury, but these effects are more variable and dependent on a number of factors. Some clinical data suggest that mTOR inhibitors decrease seizures in tuberous sclerosis complex patients, but controlled trials are lacking and no clinical data on potential anti-epileptogenic actions exist. Future basic and clinical research will help to determine the full potential of mTOR inhibitors for epilepsy.
- tuberous sclerosis