While there is solid experimental evidence of brain oxidative stress in animal models of epilepsy, it has not been thoroughly verified in epileptic human brain. Our purpose was to determine and to compare oxidative stress markers in the neocortex of epileptic and non-epileptic humans, with the final objective of confirming oxidative stress phenomena in human epileptic brain.
There is an increasing body of evidence implicating eicosanoids (arachidonic acid metabolites) in the experimental generation of epileptic seizures and the development of epilepsy. Our purpose was to measure the synthesis of eicosanoids from the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase pathways in human brain neocortex tissue samples obtained from epileptic patients, and to compare them with non-epileptic control subjects. Epileptic neocortex specimens demonstrated a significant increase (P<0.001) in the levels of three eicosanoids derived from the cyclooxygenase pathway: Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), Thromboxane A(2) (TXA(2)), and Prostacyclin (PGI(2)), compared to controls. In the epileptic samples the level of TXA(2) was twice as much the levels of PGI(2), while in the control samples the levels of PGI(2) were slightly higher than TXA(2). Conversely, there were no detectable levels of eicosanoids derived from the lipoxygenase pathway: Leukotriene B(4) (LTB(4)) and Leukotriene C(4) (LTC(4)). The lack of leukotrienes synthesis illustrates that COX pathway is dominant in neocortex of epileptic patients. Our human data are consistent with the results obtained in experimental animal models of epilepsy. The important increase in PGE(2) and TXA(2) suggests that selective inhibition of prostanoid synthesis or blockage of prostanoid receptors might provide novel antiepileptic strategies in human epilepsy.
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