A biomarker that will enable the identification of patients at high-risk for developing post-injury epilepsy is critically required. Microvascular pathology and related blood-brain barrier dysfunction and neuroinflammation were shown to be associated with epileptogenesis after injury. Here we used prospective, longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging to quantitatively follow blood-brain barrier pathology in rats following status epilepticus, late electrocorticography to identify epileptic animals and post-mortem immunohistochemistry to confirm blood-brain barrier dysfunction and neuroinflammation. Finally, to test the pharmacodynamic relevance of the proposed biomarker, two anti-epileptogenic interventions were used; isoflurane anaesthesia and losartan. Our results show that early blood-brain barrier pathology in the piriform network is a sensitive and specific predictor (area under the curve of 0.96, P < 0.0001) for epilepsy, while diffused pathology is associated with a lower risk. Early treatments with either isoflurane anaesthesia or losartan prevented early microvascular damage and late epilepsy. We suggest quantitative assessment of blood-brain barrier pathology as a clinically relevant predictive, diagnostic and pharmaco!dynamics biomarker for acquired epilepsy.
Keywords: biomarker; blood–brain barrier; epilepsy; magnetic resonance imaging.
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