Neurocysticercosis as an infectious acquired epilepsy worldwide

Seizure. 2017 Nov;52:176-181. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2017.10.004. Epub 2017 Oct 7.

Abstract

Aside from brain injury and genetic causes, there is emerging information on brain infection and inflammation as a common cause of epilepsy. Neurocysticercosis (NCC), the most common cause of epilepsy worldwide, is caused by brain cysts from the Taenia solium tapeworm. In this article, we provide a critical analysis of current and emerging information on the relationship between NCC infection and epilepsy occurrence. We searched PubMed and other databases for reports on the prevalence of NCC and incidence of epilepsy in certain regions worldwide. NCC is caused by brain cysts from the T. solium and related tapeworms. Many people with NCC infection may develop epilepsy but the rates are highly variable. MRI imaging shows many changes including localization of cysts as well as the host response to treatment. Epilepsy, in a subset of NCC patients, appears to be due to hippocampal sclerosis. Serologic and brain imaging profiles are likely diagnostic biomarkers of NCC infection and are also used to monitor the course of treatments. Limited access to these tools is a key limitation to identify and treat NCC-related epilepsy in places with high prevalence of this parasite infestation. Overall, NCC is a common infection in many patients with epilepsy worldwide. Additional clinical and animal studies could confirm common pathology of NCC as a postinfectious epilepsy that is curable.

Keywords: Epileptogenesis; Infestation; Neurocysticercosis; Parasite; Taenia solium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurocysticercosis / complications*