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Glycolytic inhibition: A novel approach toward controlling neuronal excitability and seizures


Conventional antiseizure medications reduce neuronal excitability through effects on ion channels or synaptic function. In recent years, it has become clear that metabolic factors also play a crucial role in the modulation of neuronal excitability. Indeed, metabolic regulation of neuronal excitability is pivotal in seizure pathogenesis and control. The clinical effectiveness of a variety of metabolism-based diets, especially for children with medication-refractory epilepsy, underscores the applicability of metabolic approaches to the control of seizures and epilepsy. Such diets include the ketogenic diet, the modified Atkins diet, and the low-glycemic index treatment (among others). A promising avenue to alter cellular metabolism, and hence excitability, is by partial inhibition of glycolysis, which has been shown to reduce seizure susceptibility in a variety of animal models as well as in cellular systems in vitro. One such glycolytic inhibitor, 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2DG), increases seizure threshold in vivo and reduces interictal and ictal epileptiform discharges in hippocampal slices. Here, we review the role of glucose metabolism and glycolysis on neuronal excitability, with specific reference to 2DG, and discuss the potential use of 2DG and similar agents in the clinical arena for seizure management.

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