The search for circulating epilepsy biomarkers

Biomark Med. 2014;8(3):413-27. doi: 10.2217/bmm.13.142.


Few would experience greater benefit from the development of biomarkers than those who suffer from epilepsy. Both the timing of individual seizures and the overall course of the disease are highly unpredictable, and the associated morbidity is considerable. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop biomarkers that can predict the progression of epilepsy and treatment response. Doing so may also shed light on the mechanisms of epileptogenesis and pharmacoresistance, which remain elusive despite decades of study. However, recent advances suggest the possible identification of circulating epilepsy biomarkers - accessible in blood, cerebrospinal fluid or urine. In this review, we focus on advances in several areas: neuroimmunology and inflammation; neurological viral infection; exemplary pediatric syndromes; and the genetics of pharmacoresistance, as relevant to epilepsy. These are fertile areas of study with great potential to yield accessible epilepsy biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoantibodies / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Epilepsy / blood*
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Humans
  • Papillomaviridae / physiology
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / genetics
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / metabolism
  • Receptors, GABA-B / genetics
  • Receptors, GABA-B / metabolism
  • Roseolovirus / physiology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Receptors, GABA-B