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Oxidative stress: Potential cause for epilepsy | Health

Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder where a person’s brain activity becomes abnormal with seizures or periods of unusual behavior. Often acquired genetically or through a brain injury such as stroke or trauma. Epilepsy is seizures are characterised by electrical activity arising from a group of neurons of the brain. Loss of consciousness is a common thing observed in this disorder. Talking to HT Lifestyle, Dr Sayli Umakant Bidkar, Deputy consultant, Pediatric Neurology, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital said, “Brain injury resulting from seizures is a dynamic process that comprises multiple factors like altered cytokine levels, genetic factors, mitochondrial dysfunctions secondary to excitotoxicity and oxidative stress contributing to neuronal cell death.”

Dr Sudha Desai, General Physician,Consultant Physician and Internal Medicine, Ruby Hall Clinic, Hinjawadi, further explained oxidative stress and how it can impact the brain – “Oxidative stress is the condition that occurs when steady state balance of pro oxidants to anti oxidants is shifted in direction of the former, creating a potential for organ damage. The stress pathways are induced by inflammatory response ,and subsequent mitochondrial process generate highly reactive free radical molecules. The production of free radicals has a role in the regulation of biological function, cellular damage and the pathogenesis of central nervous system diseases because of relatively small total anti oxidant capacity. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are involved in neuronal death and seizure disorder (onset and evolution). In some animal seizure models, there is evidence that antioxidant therapy may reduce lesions caused by oxidative free radicals.”

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Addressing oxidative stress as one of the causes of Epilepsy, Dr Umakant Bidkar further added, “Oxidative stress occurs when the steady-state balance of pro-oxidants to antioxidants is altered, creating the potential for organic damage. Oxidative stress is associated with alterations in reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species (RNS), and nitric oxide (NO) signalling pathways, whereby bioavailable NO is decreased and ROS and RNS production are increased. The early effect of ROS is reactive gliosis, lipid peroxidation and damage of mitochondrial DNA. All these processes result in neurodegeneration, neurogenesis, and re-arrangement of neuronal circuits, hyperexcitability and decreased seizure threshold.”

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