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Epilepsia. 2006 Mar;47(3):495-8.

Brain homocarnosine and seizure control of patients taking gabapentin or topiramate.

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Department of Neurology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8018, USA.



To assess the relation between seizure control and brain homocarnosine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels of patients with complex partial seizures taking gabapentin (GBP) or topiramate (TPM) as adjunctive therapy.


In vivo measurements of GABA and homocarnosine were made of a 14-cc volume in the occipital cortex by using (1)H spectroscopy with a 2.1-Tesla magnetic resonance spectrometer and an 8-cm surface coil. Poor seizure control was defined as more recent seizures than the median for the two groups of patients studied.


Homocarnosine levels were higher in patients with better seizure control than in those with poor control. No differences were found in the intracellular GABA levels between the patients who responded to GBP or TPM compared with those who did not.


In the visual neocortex, which is remote from the presumed seizure-onset zone, higher homocarnosine levels were associated with better seizure control in the patients taking GBP or TPM as adjunctive therapy; elevated intracellular GABA levels appeared to offer no additional protection.

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