In previous works, alterations of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the brain areas involved in generalized epilepsy have been reported.
We reviewed the alterations of these neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in the following brain areas involved in generalized epilepsy: hippocampus, hypothalamus, thalamus and cerebral cortex. In these brain areas, the neural networks are also actualized. The mechanisms of action of newer antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of generalized epilepsy are also discussed.
Up-dating the neurotransmitter and neuropeptide alterations, we found that hippocampal GABAergic neurons presynaptically inhibit epileptogenic neurons via GABAB receptors. Epilepsy modulating neuropeptides (galanin, neuropeptide Y, dynorphin) are also involved. GABA deficiency, serotonin hyperactivity, dopamine hyperactivity and glutamate excitotoxicity can enhance ictogenesis: neurons containing these neurotransmitters form the main neural circuit. An increased excitability occurs when the alteration of these neurotransmitters is permanent.
In preclinical studies, the GABAB receptor agonist GS 39,783 exerted a good antiepileptic effect. Perampanel, an AMPA receptor antagonist, showed good clinical effects in the treatment of partial-onset seizures and primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. In this treatment, perampanel can be combined with other antiepileptic drugs. Brivaracetam, which shows a high affinity for the synaptic vesicle 2A, exerted a good efficacy in the treatment of adult focal seizures and secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures.