Tuberous sclerosis complex: a review of neurological aspects

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2002;6(1):15-23. doi: 10.1053/ejpn.2001.0538.


Tuberous sclerosis complex is characterized by hamartomatous lesions involving skin, brain, kidneys, eyes and heart. Pathologically, tuberous sclerosis is a disorder of cell migration, proliferation and differentiation. Cell lineage and cell migration disorders in the developing cortex of tuberous sclerosis complex patients might produce very different neurological phenotypes including epilepsy, cognitive impairment and autism. Cortical tubers constitute the hallmark of the disease and are pathognomonic of cerebral tuberous sclerosis. Epilepsy is the most common neurological feature, occurring in 96% of patients. Seizures often begin in the first months of life and are frequently severe and intractable. The treatment of seizures has recently benefited from the advent of the new anti-epileptic drugs. Selected drug-resistant patients with tuberous sclerosis complex could be considered for surgical treatment. Clear localization of the most active epileptogenic focus and the zone of the cortical abnormality may lead to tuberectomy and improved seizure control in selective drug-resistant patients. The finding of multiple areas of cerebral involvement should not automatically preclude epilepsy surgery in a child with intractable seizures and a well defined seizure origin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Fructose / analogs & derivatives
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Topiramate
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / pathology*


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Topiramate
  • Fructose