Introduction. An increasing body of evidence points to an important role of neuroinflammatory processes in the pathomechanism of epilepsy. This hypothesis is mainly supported by data showing an increase of pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and glia activation in animal models of epilepsy and in brain tissue of epileptic patients. On the other hand, less emphasis has been put on pharmacological verification of this hypothesis.
Aim. The aim of this review is to summarize current knowledge on potential usefulness of microglia regulators and anti-inflammatory agents in designing antiepileptic/antiepileptogenic drugs, with the primary mechanism of action based on the inhibition of neuroinflammation.
Methods. We reviewed PubMed and MEDLINE databases to select publications in the topic: epilepsy, neuroinflammation, microglia and microglia regulators with antiepileptic properties. We searched the databases up to April 2017 with no date restrictions.
Review and Discussion. In the present paper, we will discuss new concepts of epileptogenesis which focus not only on changes in neurons but also take into consideration the role of activation of glial cells: microglia and astrocytes. Neuroinflammation, mainly through increased production of pro-inflammatory factors such as cytokines or chemokines, may play an important role in the development of epilepsy. Drugs regulating glial cells activation and consequently inflammatory status in the central nervous system have beneficial effects in different animal models of epilepsy as well as in clinical study in patients. The most promising compound seems to be minocycline which in some studies has been shown to possess antiepileptogenetic action. On the other hand, some antiepileptic drugs exhibit marked anti-inflammatory potency.
Conclusions. There are much data to suggest that there is significant opportunity for designing new antiepileptic drugs whose primary mechanism of action entails the inhibition of neuroinflammatory processes.