Effects of antiepileptic drugs in a new TSC/mTOR-dependent epilepsy mouse model

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2019 Jul;6(7):1273-1291. doi: 10.1002/acn3.50829. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


Objective: An epilepsy mouse model for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) was developed and validated to investigate the mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis. Furthermore, the possible antiepileptogenic properties of commonly used antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and new compounds were assessed.

Methods: Tsc1 deletion was induced in CAMK2A-expressing neurons of adult mice. The antiepileptogenic properties of commonly used AEDs and inhibitors of the mTOR pathways were assessed by EEG recordings and by molecular read outs.

Results: Mice developed epilepsy in a narrow time window (10 ± 2 days) upon Tsc1 gene deletion. Seizure frequency but not duration increased over time. Seizures were lethal within 18 days, were unpredictable, and did not correlate to seizure onset, length or frequency, reminiscent of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Tsc1 gene deletion resulted in a strong activation of the mTORC1 pathway, and both epileptogenesis and lethality could be entirely prevented by RHEB1 gene deletion or rapamycin treatment. However, other inhibitors of the mTOR pathway such as AZD8055 and PF4708671 were ineffective. Except for ketogenic diet, none of commonly used AEDs showed an effect on mTORC1 activity. Vigabatrin and ketogenic diet treatment were able to significantly delay seizure onset. In contrast, survival was shortened by lamotrigine.

Interpretation: This novel Tsc1 mouse model is highly suitable to assess the efficacy of antiepileptic and -epileptogenic drugs to treat mTORC1-dependent epilepsy. Additionally, it allows us to study the mechanisms underlying mTORC1-mediated epileptogenesis and SUDEP. We found that early treatment with vigabatrin was not able to prevent epilepsy, but significantly delayed seizure onset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diet, Ketogenic
  • Epilepsy
  • Female
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein / deficiency
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein / physiology
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 1 Protein / deficiency
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 1 Protein / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Vigabatrin


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Morpholines
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein
  • Rheb protein, mouse
  • Tsc1 protein, mouse
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 1 Protein
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • (5-(2,4-bis((3S)-3-methylmorpholin-4-yl)pyrido(2,3-d)pyrimidin-7-yl)-2-methoxyphenyl)methanol
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Vigabatrin
  • Sirolimus