Send to

Choose Destination
Epilepsia. 2019 Jun;60(6):1255-1265. doi: 10.1111/epi.15969. Epub 2019 May 24.

Hypervascularization in mTOR-dependent focal and global cortical malformations displays differential rapamycin sensitivity.

Author information

Department of Neurosurgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China.
Departments of Neurosurgery and Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.



Patients with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent malformations of cortical development (MCDs) associated with seizures display hyperperfusion and increased vessel density of the dysmorphic cortical tissue. Some studies have suggested that the vascular defect occurred independently of seizures. Here, we further examined whether hypervascularization occurs in animal models of global and focal MCD with and without seizures, and whether it is sensitive to the mTOR blocker, rapamycin, that is approved for epilepsy treatment in tuberous sclerosis complex.


We used two experimental models of mTOR-dependent MCD consisting of conditional transgenic mice containing Tsc1null cells in the forebrain generating a global malformation associated with seizures and of wild-type mice containing a focal malformation in the somatosensory cortex generated by in utero electroporation (IUE) that does not lead to seizures. Alterations in blood vessels and the effects of a 2-week-long rapamycin treatment on these phenotypes were assessed in juvenile mice.


Blood vessels in both the focal and global MCDs of postnatal day 14 mice displayed significant increase in vessel density, branching index, total vessel length, and decreased tissue lacunarity. In addition, rapamycin treatment (0.5 mg/kg, every 2 days) partially rescued vessel abnormalities in the focal MCD model, but it did not ameliorate the vessel abnormalities in the global MCD model that required higher rapamycin dosage for a partial rescue.


Here, we identified hypervascularization in mTOR-dependent MCD in the absence of seizures in young mice, suggesting that increased angiogenesis occurs during development in parallel to alterations in corticogenesis. In addition, a predictive functional outcome is that dysplastic neurons forming MCD will have better access to oxygen and metabolic supplies via their closer proximity to blood vessels. Finally, the difference in rapamycin sensitivity between a focal and global MCD suggest that rapamycin treatment will need to be titrated to match the type of MCD.


mTOR ; epilepsy; focal cortical dysplasia; hyperperfusion; hypervascularization; microvessel; rapamycin; tuber; tuberous sclerosis complex; vessel

[Available on 2020-06-01]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center