Alcohol use disorders (AUD) constitute the most common form of substance abuse. The development of AUD involves repeated alcohol use leading to tolerance, alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), physical and psychological dependence, with loss of ability to control excessive drinking. Currently there is no effective therapeutic agent for AUD without major side-effects. Dihydromyricetin (DHM, 1 mg/kg, i.p. injection), a flavonoid component of herbal medicines, counteracted acute alcohol (EtOH) intoxication, and also withdrawal signs in rats including tolerance, increased anxiety and seizure susceptibility; DHM greatly reduced EtOH consumption in an intermittent voluntary EtOH intake paradigm in rats. GABAA receptors (GABAARs) are major targets of acute and chronic EtOH actions on the brain. At the cellular levels, DHM (1 μM) antagonized both acute EtOH-induced potentiation of GABAARs and EtOH exposure/withdrawal-induced GABAAR plasticity, including alterations in responsiveness of extra- and post-synaptic GABAARs to acute EtOH, and most importantly, increases in GABAAR α4 subunit expression in hippocampus and cultured neurons. DHM anti-alcohol effects on both behavior and CNS neurons were antagonized by flumazenil (10 mg/kg in vivo, 10 μM in vitro), the benzodiazepine (BZ) antagonist. DHM competitively inhibited BZ-site [3H]flunitrazepam binding (IC50, 4.36 μM), suggesting DHM interaction with EtOH involves the BZ-sites on GABAARs. In summary, we determined DHM anti-alcoholic effects on animal models, and determined a major molecular target and cellular mechanism of DHM for counteracting alcohol intoxication and dependence. We demonstrated pharmacological properties of DHM consistent with those expected to underlie successful medical treatment of AUD; therefore DHM is a therapeutic candidate.
It is currently unclear how effective un-medicated, self-paced alcohol withdrawal is in reducing alcohol consumption in alcohol dependent clients. To address this question, the current study examined the reduction in alcohol consumption, assessed by breath alcohol and drink diary self-report, of 405 alcohol-dependent clients over a 10-day, un-medicated, self-paced alcohol reduction program that included group discussion of strategies for titrating between withdrawal and intoxication. It was found that attendance at treatment sessions was associated with a reduction in alcohol consumption, reflected in both breath alcohol and diary measures, and these two measures were significantly correlated. Overall, 35% of clients achieved a zero breath alcohol reading by their final session, although this percentage increased to 56% of clients who attended all 10 sessions. Withdrawal seizures occurred in only 0.5% of clients despite 17.2% having a history of seizures in other settings. It is concluded that the alcohol reduction protocol outlined here provides an effective and safe method for reducing alcohol consumption in severely alcohol dependent clients, and that methods for augmenting attendance, such as contingency management, should enhance the effectiveness of this treatment.
Alcohol withdrawal, refers to a cluster of symptoms that may occur from suddenly ceasing the use of alcohol after chronic or prolonged ingestion. These symptoms make alcohol abstinence difficult and increase the risk of relapse in recovering alcoholics. In previous studies, we demonstrated that treatment with N/OFQ significantly reduces alcohol consumption and attenuates alcohol-seeking behaviour induced by environmental conditioning factors or by stress in rats. In the present study we evaluated whether activation of brain NOP receptors may also attenuate alcohol withdrawal signs in rats.
For this purpose animals were subjected to a 6 day chronic alcohol intoxication (by intragastric administration) and at 8, 10 and 12 hours following cessation of alcohol exposure they were treated intracerebroventricularly (ICV) with N/OFQ (0.0, 1.0 and 3.0 μg/rat). Somatic withdrawal signs were scored after ICV treatment. In a subsequent experiment, to evaluate N/OFQ effects on alcohol withdrawal-induced anxiety another group of rats was subjected to ethanol intoxication and after one week was tested for anxiety behavior in the elevated plus maze (EPM). In the last experiment an additional group of rats was tested for anxiety elicited by acute ethanol intoxication (hangover anxiety). For this purpose, animals received an acute dose (3.0 g/kg) of 20% alcohol and 12-h later were tested in the EPM following ICV N/OFQ (0.0, 1.0 and 2.0μg/rat).
Results showed that N/OFQ significantly reduced the expression of somatic withdrawal signs and reversed anxiety-like behaviors associated with both chronic and acute alcohol intoxication. N/OFQ did not affect anxiety scores in nondependent animals.
The present findings suggest that the N/OFQ-NOP receptor system may represent a promising target for the development of new treatments to ameliorate alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Nociceptin; Orphanin FQ; Alcoholism; Withdrawal; Anxiety
Long-term alcohol exposure may lead to development of alcohol dependence in consequence of altered neurotransmitter functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type of glutamate receptors is a particularly important site of ethanol’s action. Several studies showed that ethanol potently inhibits NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and prolonged ethanol exposition leads to a compensatory “up-regulation” of NMDAR mediated functions. Therefore, alterations in NMDAR function are supposed to contribute to the development of ethanol tolerance, dependence as well as to the acute and late signs of ethanol withdrawal.
A number of publications report alterations in the expression and phosphorylation states of NMDAR subunits, in their interaction with scaffolding proteins or other receptors in consequence of chronic ethanol treatment. Our knowledge on the regulatory processes, which modulate NMDAR functions including factors altering transcription, protein expression and post-translational modifications of NMDAR subunits, as well as those influencing their interactions with different regulatory proteins or other downstream signaling elements are incessantly increasing. The aim of this review is to summarize the complex chain of events supposedly playing a role in the up-regulation of NMDAR functions in consequence of chronic ethanol exposure.
Alcohol dependence; NMDA receptor; subunit expression; post-translation modifications; phosphorylation/ dephosphorylation; compartmentalization.
The cellular mechanisms underlying typical absence seizures, which characterize various idiopathic generalized epilepsies, are not fully understood, but impaired GABAergic inhibition remains an attractive hypothesis. In contrast, we show here that extrasynaptic GABAA receptor–dependent ‘tonic’ inhibition is increased in thalamocortical neurons from diverse genetic and pharmacological models of absence seizures. Increased tonic inhibition is due to compromised GABA uptake by the GABA transporter GAT–1 in the genetic models tested, and GAT–1 is critical in governing seizure genesis. Extrasynaptic GABAA receptors are a requirement for seizures in two of the best characterized models of absence epilepsy, and the selective activation of thalamic extrasynaptic GABAA receptors is sufficient to elicit both electrographic and behavioural correlates of seizures in normal animals. These results identify an apparently common cellular pathology in typical absence seizures that may have epileptogenic significance, and highlight novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of absence epilepsy.
extrasynaptic; tonic current; GAT–1; thalamus; spike–and–wave discharge; GAERS; stargazer; lethargic; GHB; THIP
This paper reviews evidence suggesting that nicotine and tobacco smoke profoundly modulate the effects of alcohol on γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuronal function, specifically at the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptor (GABAA-BZR). The focus of this paper is on recent neuroimaging evidence in preclinical models as well as clinical experiments. First, we review findings implicating the role of alcohol at the GABAA-BZR and discuss the changes in GABAA-BZR availability during acute and prolonged alcohol withdrawal. Second, we discuss preclinical evidence that suggests nicotine affects GABA neuronal function indirectly by a primary action at neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Third, we show how this evidence converges in studies that examine GABA levels and GABAA-BZRs in alcohol-dependent smokers and nonsmokers, suggesting that tobacco smoking attenuates the chemical changes that occur during alcohol withdrawal. Based on a comprehensive review of literature, we hypothesize that tobacco smoking minimizes the changes in GABA levels that typically occur during the acute cycles of drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals. Thus, during alcohol withdrawal, the continued tobacco smoking decreases the severity of the withdrawal-related changes in GABA chemistry.
GABA; alcohol dependence; tobacco smoking; brain imaging
Long-term alcohol exposure gives rise to development of physical dependence on alcohol in consequence of changes in certain neurotransmitter functions. Accumulating evidence suggests that the glutamatergic neurotransmitter system, especially the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type of glutamate receptors is a particularly important site of ethanol’s action, since ethanol is a potent inhibitor of the NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and prolonged ethanol exposition leads to a compensatory “upregulation” of NMDAR mediated functions supposedly contributing to the occurrence of ethanol tolerance, dependence as well as the acute and delayed signs of ethanol withdrawal.
Recently, expression of different types of NMDAR subunits was found altered after long-term ethanol exposure. Especially, the expression of the NR2B and certain splice variant forms of the NR1 subunits were increased in primary neuronal cultures treated intermittently with ethanol. Since NMDA ion channels with such an altered subunit composition have increased permeability for calcium ions, increased agonist sensitivity, and relatively slow closing kinetics, the abovementioned alterations may underlie the enhanced NMDAR activation observed after long-term ethanol exposure. In accordance with these changes, the inhibitory potential of NR2B subunit-selective NMDAR antagonists is also increased, demonstrating excellent potency against alcohol withdrawal-induced in vitro cytotoxicity. Although in vivo data are few with these compounds, according to the effectiveness of the classic NMDAR antagonists in attenuation, not only the physical symptoms, but also some affective and motivational components of alcohol withdrawal, novel NR2B subunit selective NMDAR antagonists may offer a preferable alternative in the pharmacotherapy of alcohol dependence.
Alcohol; dependence; withdrawal; NMDA receptor; NR2B subunit selective antagonist; pharmacotherapy
Alcoholism is a relapsing disorder associated with excessive consumption after periods of abstinence. Neuroadaptations in brain structure, plasticity and gene expression occur with chronic intoxication but are poorly characterized. Here we report identification of pathways altered during abstinence in prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with cognitive dysfunction and damage in alcoholics. To determine the influence of genetic differences, an animal model was employed with widely divergent responses to alcohol withdrawal, the Withdrawal Seizure-Resistant (WSR) and Withdrawal Seizure-Prone (WSP) lines. Mice were chronically exposed to highly intoxicating concentrations of ethanol and withdrawn, then left abstinent for 21 days. Transcriptional profiling by microarray analyses identified a total of 562 genes as significantly altered during abstinence. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed that the transcriptional response correlated with genotype/withdrawal phenotype rather than sex. Gene Ontology category overrepresentation analysis identified thyroid hormone metabolism, glutathione metabolism, axon guidance and DNA damage response as targeted classes of genes in low response WSR mice, with acetylation and histone deacetylase complex as highly dimorphic between WSR and WSP mice. Confirmation studies in WSR mice revealed both increased neurotoxicity by histopathologic examination and elevated T3 levels. Most importantly, relapse drinking was reduced by inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis in dependent WSR mice compared to controls. These findings provide in vivo physiological and behavioral validation of the pathways identified. Combined, these results indicate a fundamentally distinct neuroadaptive response during abstinence in mice genetically selected for divergent withdrawal severity. Identification of pathways altered in abstinence may aid development of novel therapeutics for targeted treatment of relapse in abstinent alcoholics.
alcoholism; chronic ethanol; abstinence; relapse; microarray; gene expression
Neuronal mechanisms underlying alcohol intoxication are unclear. We find that alcohol impairs motor coordination by enhancing tonic inhibition mediated by a specific subtype of extrasynaptic GABAA receptor (GABAR), α6β3δ, expressed exclusively in cerebellar granule cells. In recombinant studies, we characterize a naturally occurring single-nucleotide polymorphism that causes a single amino acid change (R100Q) in α6 (encoded in rats by the Gabra6 gene). We show that this change selectively increases alcohol sensitivity of α6β3δ GABARs. Behavioral and electrophysiological comparisons of Gabra6100R/100R and Gabra6100Q/100Q rats strongly suggest that alcohol impairs motor coordination by enhancing granule cell tonic inhibition. These findings identify extrasynaptic GABARs as critical targets underlying low-dose alcohol intoxication and demonstrate that subtle changes in tonic inhibition in one class of neurons can alter behavior.
Perimenstural catamenial epilepsy, the cyclical occurrence of seizure exacerbations near the time of menstruation, affects a high proportion of women of reproductive age with drug refractory epilepsy. Enhanced seizure susceptibility in perimenstrual catamenial epilepsy is believed to be due to the withdrawal of the progesterone-derived GABAA receptor modulating neurosteroid allopregnanolone as a result of the fall in progesterone at the time of menstruation. Studies in a rat pseudopregnancy model of catamenial epilepsy indicate that following neurosteroid withdrawal there is enhanced susceptibility to chemoconvulsant seizures. There is also a transitory increase in the frequency of spontaneous seizures in epleptic rats that had experienced pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. In the catamenial epilepsy model, there is a marked reduction in the antiseizure potency of anticonvulsant drugs, including benzodiazepines and valproate, but an increase in the anticonvulsant potency and protective index of neurosteroids such as allopregnanolone and the neurosteroid analog ganaxolone. The enhanced seizure susceptibility and benzodiazepine-resistance following neurosteroid withdrawal may be related to reduced expression and altered kinetics of synaptic GABAA receptors and increased expression of GABAA receptor subunits (such as α4) that confer benzodiazepine insensitivity. The enhanced potency of neurosteroids may be due to a relative increase following neurosteroid withdrawal in the expression of neurosteroid-sensitive δ-subunit-containing perisynaptic/extrasynaptic GABAA receptors. Positive allosteric modulatory neurosteroids and synthetic analogs such as ganaxolone may be administered to prevent catamenial seizure exacerbations, which we refer to as “neurosteroid replacement therapy.”
catamenial epilepsy; progesterone; neurosteroid; allopregnanolone; ganaxolone; GABAA receptor
Withdrawal anxiety is a significant factor contributing to continued alcohol abuse in alcoholics. This anxiety is long lasting, can manifest well after the overt physical symptoms of withdrawal, and is frequently associated with relapse in recovering alcoholics. The neurobiological mechanisms governing these withdrawal-associated increases in anxiety are currently unknown. The basolateral amygdala is a major emotional center in the brain and regulates the expression of both learned-fear and anxiety. Neurotransmitter system alterations within this brain region may therefore contribute to withdrawal-associated anxiety. Since evidence suggests that glutamate-gated neurotransmitter receptors are sensitive to acute ethanol exposure, we examined the effect of chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) and withdrawal (WD) on glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the basolateral amygdala. We found that slices prepared from CIE and WD animals had significantly increased contributions by synaptic NMDA-receptors. In addition, CIE increased the amplitude of AMPA receptor-mediated spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSC), while only WD altered the amplitude and kinetics of tetrodotoxin-resistant spontaneous events (mEPSC). Similarly, the frequency of sEPSCs was increased in both CIE and WD neurons; but, only WD increased the frequency of mEPSCs. These data suggest that CIE and WD differentially alter both pre- and post-synaptic properties of BLA glutamatergic synapses. Finally, we show that microinjection of the AMPA receptor antagonist, DNQX, can attenuate withdrawal-related anxiety-like behavior. Together, our results suggest that increased glutamatergic function may contribute to anxiety expressed during withdrawal from chronic ethanol.
Epilepsies are disorders of neuronal excitability characterized by spontaneous and recurrent seizures. Ion channels are critical for regulating neuronal excitability and, therefore, can contribute significantly to epilepsy pathophysiology. In particular, large conductance, Ca2+-activated K+ (BKCa) channels play an important role in seizure etiology. These channels are activated by both membrane depolarization and increased intracellular Ca2+. This unique coupling of Ca2+ signaling to membrane depolarization is important in controlling neuronal hyperexcitability, as outward K+ current through BKCa channels hyperpolarizes neurons.
This review focuses on BKCa channel structure-function and discusses the role of these channels in epilepsy pathophysiology.
Loss-of-function BKCa channels contribute neuronal hyperexcitability that can lead to temporal lobe epilepsy, tonic-clonic seizures and alcohol withdrawal seizures. Similarly, BKCa channel blockade can trigger seizures and status epilepticus. Paradoxically, some mutations in BKCa channel subunit can give rise to the channel gain-of-function that leads to development of idiopathic epilepsy (primarily absence epilepsy). Seizures themselves also enhance BKCa channel currents associated with neuronal hyperexcitability, and blocking BKCa channels suppresses generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Thus, both loss-of-function and gain-of-function BKCa channels might serve as molecular targets for drugs to suppress certain seizure phenotypes including temporal lobe seizures and absence seizures, respectively.
Anticonvulsant; Epileptogenesis; Gain-of-function; Gene mutation; Loss-of-function; Seizures
We surveyed 70 epileptic patients attending a general neurology clinic and 64 patients attending an epilepsy clinic to determine the incidence of alcohol-related seizures. Seven (10%) of the neurology clinic patients and 9 (15%) of the epilepsy clinic patients reported exacerbation of their seizures with alcohol. In the first group, two had been heavy drinkers when under-age, two had features of alcohol dependence, and three had experienced resolution of seizures following cessation of their drinking. In the second group, five drank 4 units/day or more, and one drank more heavily. The importance of alcohol in the causation of these patients' seizures had not previously been appreciated. The relationship of alcoholism to epilepsy has been recognized for many years, but the role of alcohol in the exacerbation of primary epilepsy, and in triggering seizures in epileptic patients is often not recognized. Control of alcohol ingestion is an important factor in the management of epilepsy.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can damage the developing fetus, illustrated by central nervous system dysfunction and deficits in motor and cognitive abilities. Binge drinking has been associated with an increased risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, likely due to increased episodes of ethanol withdrawal. We hypothesized that overactivity of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor during ethanol withdrawal leads to excitotoxic cell death in the developing brain. Consistent with this, administration of NMDA receptor antagonists (e.g. MK-801) during withdrawal can attenuate ethanol's teratogenic effects. The aim of this study was to determine if administration of memantine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, during ethanol withdrawal could effectively attenuate ethanol-related deficits, without the adverse side effects associated with other NMDA receptor antagonists.
Sprague-Dawley pups were exposed to 6.0 g/kg ethanol or isocaloric maltose solution via intubation on postnatal day 6, a period of brain development equivalent to a portion of the 3rd trimester. Twenty-four and 36 hours after ethanol, subjects were injected with 0, 10 or 15 mg/kg memantine, totaling doses of 0, 20, or 30 mg/kg. Motor coordination was tested on a parallel bar task and the total number of cerebellar Purkinje cells was estimated using unbiased stereology.
Alcohol exposure induced significant parallel bar motor incoordination and reduced Purkinje cell number. Memantine administration significantly attenuated both ethanol-associated motor deficits and cerebellar cell loss in a dose-dependent manner.
Memantine was neuroprotective when administered during ethanol withdrawal. These data provide further support that ethanol withdrawal contributes to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
fetal alcohol; treatment; NMDA; excitotoxicity; cerebellum
Alcoholism is a common, heritable, chronic relapsing disorder. GABAA receptors undergo allosteric modulation by ethanol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines and neurosteroids and have been implicated in the acute as well as the chronic effects of ethanol including tolerance, dependence and withdrawal. Medications targeting GABAA receptors ameliorate the symptoms of acute withdrawal. Ethanol induces plasticity in GABAA receptors: tolerance is associated with generally decreased GABAA receptor activation and differentially altered subunit expression. The dopamine (DA) mesolimbic reward pathway originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and interacting stress circuitry play an important role in the development of addiction. VTA GABAergic interneurons are the primary inhibitory regulators of DA neurons and a subset of VTA GABAA receptors may be implicated in the switch from heavy drinking to dependence. GABAA receptors modulate anxiety and response to stress; important elements of sustained drinking and relapse. The GABAA receptor subunit genes clustered on chromosome 4 are highly expressed in the reward pathway. Several recent studies have provided strong evidence that one of these genes, GABRA2, is implicated in alcoholism in humans. The influence of the interaction between ethanol and GABAA receptors in the reward pathway on the development of alcoholism together with genetic and epigenetic vulnerabilities will be explored in this review.
GABA; ethanol; neurosteroids; benzodiazepines; tolerance; withdrawal; reward; VTA; stress; anxiety genes; GABRA2
Withdrawal anxiety is a significant factor contributing to continued alcohol abuse in alcoholics. This anxiety is extensive, long-lasting, and develops well after the obvious physical symptoms of acute withdrawal. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying this prolonged withdrawal-induced anxiety are not well understood. The basolateral amygdala is a major emotional center in the brain and regulates the expression of anxiety. New evidence suggests that increased glutamatergic function in the basolateral amygdala may contribute to withdrawal-related anxiety following chronic ethanol exposure. Recent evidence also suggests that kainate-type ionotropic glutamate receptors are inhibited by intoxicating concentrations of acute ethanol. This acute sensitivity suggests potential contributions by these receptors to the increased glutamatergic function seen during chronic exposure. Therefore we examined the effect of chronic intermittent ethanol (CIE) and withdrawal (WD) on kainate receptor (KAR) mediated synaptic transmission in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) of Sprague Dawley rats. Our study showed that CIE, but not withdrawal, increased synaptic responses mediated by KARs. Interestingly, both CIE and WD occluded KAR-mediated synaptic plasticity. Finally, we found that BLA fEPSP responses were increased during CIE and WD via a mechanism that is independent from glutamate release from presynaptic terminals. Taken together, these data suggest that KARs might also contribute to postsynaptic increases in glutamatergic synaptic transmission during CIE and that the mechanisms responsible for the expression of KAR-dependent synaptic plasticity might be engaged by chronic ethanol exposure and withdrawal.
basolateral amygdala; electrophysiology; kainite; anxiety; withdrawal
Mutations in ligand-gated ion channel genes associated with idiopathic generalized epilepsies have been reported in excitatory acetylcholine receptor α4 and β2 subunit genes linked to autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy and in inhibitory GABAA receptor α1, β3, γ2, and δ subunit genes associated with childhood absence epilepsy, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, pure febrile seizures, generalized epilepsy with febrile seizures plus, and generalized epilepsy with tonic–clonic seizures. Recent studies suggest that these mutations alter receptor function or biogenesis, including impaired receptor subunit messenger RNA stability, receptor subunit protein folding and stability, receptor assembly, and receptor trafficking.
Structures responsible for the onset, propagation, and cessation of generalized seizures are not known. Lesion and microinfusion studies suggest that the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNR) seizure-controlling network could play a key role. However, the expression of neural activity within the SNR and its targets during discrete pre- and postictal periods has not been investigated. In rats, we used flurothyl to induce generalized seizures over a controlled time period and 2-deoxyglucose autoradiography mapping technique. Changes in neural activity within the SNR were region-specific. The SNRposterior was selectively active during the pre-clonic period and may represent an early gateway to seizure propagation. The SNRanterior and superior colliculus changed their activity during progression to tonic-clonic seizure, suggesting the involvement in coordinated regional activity that results in inhibitory effects on seizures. The postictal suppression state was correlated with changes in the SNR projection targets, specifically the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and superior colliculus.
Autoradiography; Basal ganglia; Deoxyglucose; Flurothyl-induced primary generalized seizures; Seizure stages; Substantia nigra
Ethanol interactions with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, play key roles in acute intoxication. However, the exact mechanisms of these ethanol interactions have been the subject of considerable confusion and controversy. Many studies suggest that ethanol potentiates the function of the type A GABA receptor (GABAA-R). However, these findings have not been consistently replicated in experiments that directly examined ethanol effects on GABAA-R-mediated ion current. Differences in ethanol sensitivity of different GABAA-R subtypes have been invoked as a potential explanation for the inconsistent findings, and recent work suggests that GABAA-Rs that contain the delta subunit and/or mediate tonic extrasynaptic GABA responses may be especially ethanol-sensitive. However, considerable disagreement has arisen over these findings. This special issue of Alcohol contains articles from eight research groups who are examining this issue. The authors present their work, their views on the present state of this area of alcohol research, and their ideas about how to proceed with future studies that may help to address the present confusion and controversy. This editorial provides an introduction to this line of research and the current findings and controversies.
Ethanol; Synaptic Inhibition; Intoxication; RO15-4513
A provoked seizure may be due to structural damage (resulting from traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, stroke, tuberculosis, or neurocysticercosis) or due to metabolic abnormalities (such as alcohol withdrawal and renal or hepatic failure). This article is a part of the Guidelines for Epilepsy in India. This article reviews the problem of provoked seizure and its management and also provides recommendations based on currently available information. Seizure provoked by metabolic disturbances requires correction of the triggering factors. Benzodiazepines are recommended for treatment of seizure due to alcohol withdrawal; gabapentin for seizure seen in porphyria; and antiepileptic drugs (AED), that are not inducer of hepatic enzymes, in the seizures seen in hepatic dysfunction. In severe traumatic brain injury, with or without seizure, phenytoin (PHT) may be given for 7 days. In ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke one may individualize the AED therapy. In cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), AED may be prescribed if there is seizure or computed tomographic (CT) abnormalities or focal weakness; the treatment, in these cases, has to be continued for 1 year. Prophylactic AED is not recommended in cases of brain tumor and neurosurgical procedures and if patient is on an AED it can be stopped after 1 week.
Alcohol; cerebral venous sinus thrombosis; liver failure; porphyria; provoked seizure; renal failure; stroke; traumatic brain injury
Generalized tonic-clonic seizures cause widespread physiological changes throughout the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures in the brain. Using combined blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 9.4 T and electroencephalography (EEG) these changes can be characterized with high spatiotemporal resolution. We studied BOLD changes in anesthetized Wistar rats during bicuculline-induced tonic-clonic seizures. Bicuculline, a GABAA receptor antagonist, was injected systemically and seizure activity was observed on EEG as high amplitude, high-frequency polyspike discharges followed by clonic paroxysmal activity of lower frequency, with mean electrographic seizure duration of 349 s. Our aim was to characterize the spatial localization, direction, and timing of BOLD signal changes during the pre-ictal, ictal and post-ictal periods. Group analysis was performed across seizures using paired t-maps of BOLD signal superimposed on high resolution anatomical images. Regional analysis was then performed using volumes of interest to quantify BOLD timecourses. In the pre-ictal period we found focal BOLD increases in specific areas of somatosensory cortex (S1, S2) and thalamus several seconds before seizure onset. During seizures we observed BOLD increases in cortex, brainstem and thalamus and BOLD decreases in the hippocampus. The largest ictal BOLD increases remained in the focal regions of somatosensory cortex showing pre-ictal increases. During the post-ictal period we observed widespread BOLD decreases. These findings support a model in which “generalized” tonic-clonic seizures begin with focal changes before electrographic seizure onset, which progress to non-uniform changes during seizures, possibly shedding light on the etiology and pathophysiology of similar seizures in humans.
tonic-clonic seizure; fMRI; cortex; thalamus; bicuculline; cortical focus theory
In this report, we describe a 15-year-old Malaysian male patient with a de novo SCN1A mutation who experienced prolonged febrile seizures after his first seizure at 6 months of age. This boy had generalized tonic clonic seizure (GTCS) which occurred with and without fever. Sequencing analysis of voltage-gated sodium channel a1-subunit gene, SCN1A, confirmed a homozygous A to G change at nucleotide 5197 (c.5197A > G) in exon 26 resulting in amino acid substitution of asparagines to aspartate at codon 1733 of sodium channel. The mutation identified in this patient is located in the pore-forming loop of SCN1A and this case report suggests missense mutation in pore-forming loop causes generalized epilepsy with febrile seizure plus (GEFS+) with clinically more severe neurologic phenotype including intellectual disabilities (mental retardation and autism features) and neuropsychiatric disease (anxiety disorder).
Anxiety disorder; GEFS+; GTCS; mental retardation; SCN1A
Alcohol dependence is a chronic disorder that results from a variety of genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. Relapse prevention for alcohol dependence has traditionally involved psychosocial and psychotherapeutic interventions. Pharmacotherapy, however, in conjunction with behavioral therapy, is generating interest as another modality to prevent relapse and enhance abstinence. Naltrexone and acamprosate are at the forefront of the currently available pharmacological options. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist and is thought to reduce the rewarding effect of alcohol. Acamprosate normalizes the dysregulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-mediated glutamatergic excitation that occurs in alcohol withdrawal and early abstinence. These different mechanisms of action and different target neurotransmitter systems may endow the two drugs with efficacy for different aspects of alcohol use behavior. Since not all patients seem to benefit from naltrexone and acamprosate, there are ongoing efforts to improve the treatment outcomes by examining the advantages of combined pharmacotherapy and exploring the variables that might predict the response of the medications. In addition, novel medications are being investigated to assess their efficacy in preventing relapse and increasing abstinence.
Alcohol dependence; pharmacotherapy; naltrexone; acamprosate
Chronic, excessive ingestion of alcohol, with its accompanying subnutrition and intermittent drug withdrawal (partial or complete), has produced many neurologic disorders. These problems include involuntary movement disorders which may be reviewed under three major headings: withdrawal tremulous states, cerebellar system dysfunction, and hepatic related disorders.
The tremor of alcohol withdrawal resembles that of physiologic tremor when exacerbated by anxiety. It is the most common neurologic manifestation of alcohol withdrawal, and the tremor amplitude is usually greatest some 10 to 20 hours after cessation of drinking. A tremulous state, which may be transient or persistent, also occurs in infants born to alcoholic mothers.
The common hepatic encephalopathy may be accompanied by a flapping tremor and multiple other tremors and jerking movements. Chronic porto-systemic encephalopathy is accompanied by choreoathetoid movements and persistent coarse tremors.
A three way single blind cross-over comparison of progabide, valproate and placebo, as adjunctive therapy, was undertaken in 64 patients with therapy-resistant partial and generalised seizures. The study was not completed because of the incidence of elevated hepatic enzymes on progabide. Analysis of efficacy showed progabide to be inferior to valproate against all seizure types, particularly against tonic-clonic seizures. Valproate was superior to placebo against all seizure types, partial and tonic-clonic seizures. Progabide did not differ significantly from placebo in any instance. In addition progabide caused elevation of hepatic enzymes which was symptomatic in one case, and was associated with an interaction with phenytoin which resulted in symptoms of intoxication in some cases.