Scientists may have identified a pair of epilepsy syndrome patterns and their link to autoimmune illnesses. The single-center study was carried out between January 2016 and December 2020 and involved patients at a tertiary epilepsy center.
During this period, the researchers gathered data from 242 patients suffering from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and 422 patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsies (IGEs). The researchers observed that, on average, patients who suffered from idiopathic generalized epilepsies were more than a decade younger than those with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS)
They also noted that autoimmune disease prevalence across the sample stood at 5%.
The researchers determined that roughly one in three patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsies had been diagnosed with an autoimmune illness before being diagnosed with epilepsy. This was different when MTLE-HS patients were observed, as all but one of them had been diagnosed with epilepsy before receiving their autoimmune illness diagnosis.
This discovery, the scientists explained, highlighted the different relationship patterns that the aforementioned epilepsy syndromes had with autoimmune illnesses, with MTLE-HSE having a unidirectional association and IGEs having a bidirectional association. They added that the links between autoimmune illnesses and epilepsy could be a result of the contrasting etiopathogenetic mechanisms underlying seizure development in each syndrome.
In their report, the researchers explained that the inflammatory mechanisms they observed in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis could trigger an autoimmune response and cause autoimmune illnesses to develop in vulnerable patients. They then noted that, with regard to MTLE-HS, learning more about this link could help develop treatment approaches that targeted tissue-specific inflammatory processes to help prevent inflammation and worsening inflammation that could lead to development of autoimmune illnesses.
The researchers also found that the most common manifestation of the disease was skin manifestation, observing this in almost 64% of MTLE-HS patients and 57% of IGEs patients. This is in addition to discovering that connective tissue disorders were less common in patients with IGEs, in comparison to those with MTLE-HS.
The researchers noted in their report that their research represented progress toward better understanding the different links among these comorbid conditions.
The study’s findings were reported in “Epileptic Disorders.” The researchers involved include João Chaves, Ana Sardoeira, Bárbara Leal, Raquel Samões, Vanessa Carvalho, Rui Chorão, Joel Freitas, Sandra Brás, Ana Marta Ferreira, João Ramalheira, João Lopes, Paulo Pinho Costa, Carolina Lemos, Berta Martins da Silva, António Martins da Silva and António Marinho.
The toll taken by autoimmune conditions is rising every year, but there is hope that for-profit companies such as BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NASDAQ: BVXV) could soon avail novel immunotherapies to help in the management of these ailments.
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