Recurrent seizures are a significant cause of childhood morbidity. Often the underlying pathogenesis is unknown. Studies from several laboratories have suggested a relationship between perturbations of humoral immunity and clinical epilepsy. Brain-specific antigens have been observed in the systemic circulation after brain injury. This can be followed by the appearance of antibodies to neuronal tissues in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Moreover, there appears to be disproportionate representation of persons with coexisting humoral immune deficiencies among patients with chronic epilepsy. Interestingly, a potent immunosuppressant, adrenocorticotropic hormone, has long been the principal treatment for infantile spasms. Given this body of information associating humoral immunity with recurrent seizures, several investigators have recently attempted to treat intractable childhood epilepsy with high-dose intravenous immune globulin. Although the number of patients treated is small and it is not possible to make comparisons between individual studies, nevertheless the results have been encouraging. Five patients with intractable seizures who failed to respond to conventional therapy were treated with an outpatient regimen of intravenous immune globulin (1 gm/kg/day) for 2 days. Two patients showed significant clinical improvement while a third had an equivocal response. Immunologic analysis of these patients before therapy revealed a surprisingly high incidence of immune abnormalities. We conclude that intravenous immune globulin may be useful in the treatment of selected patients with chronic epilepsy unresponsive to anticonvulsants.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy