Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Pathophysiology of massive infantile spasms: Perpective on the putative role of the brain adrenal axis


Massive infantile spasms are an age-specific seizure syndrome of infancy. Uniquely, the spasms respond to hormonal manipulation using adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or glucocorticoids. A hypothesis explaining the efficacy of hormonal therapy, age-specificity, multiple causative factors, and spontaneous resolution of infantile spasms is presented. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), an excitant neuropeptide suppressed by ACTH/steroids, is implicated. Evidence for the age-specific convulsant properties of CRH is presented, and a putative scenario in which a stress-induced enhancement of endogenous CRH-mediated seizures is discussed. Clinical testing of the CRH-excess theory and its therapeutic implications are suggested.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View