Cryptogenic Epilepsy: An Infectious Etiology?
Article first published online: 1 MAY 2002
Volume 42, Issue 3, pages 436–438, March 2001
How to Cite
Stommel, E. W., Seguin, R., Thadani, V. M., Schwartzman, J. D., Gilbert, K., Ryan, K. A., Tosteson, T. D. and Kasper, L. H. (2001), Cryptogenic Epilepsy: An Infectious Etiology?. Epilepsia, 42: 436–438. doi: 10.1046/j.1528-1157.2001.25500.x
- Issue published online: 1 MAY 2002
- Article first published online: 1 MAY 2002
- Accepted October 24, 2000.
- Cryptogenic epilepsy;
- Toxoplasma gondii;
- Parasitic infections;
Summary: Purpose: Cryptogenic epilepsy, the group of epilepsy syndromes for which an etiology is unknown, comprises ∼20% of all epilepsy syndromes. We selected patients in this subgroup of epilepsy and tested them for evidence of Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibodies by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. T. gondii is found in up to 20% of the U.S. population forming dormant brain cysts in the latent bradyzoite form. We investigated the hypothesis that dormant T. gondii infection might be associated with cryptogenic epilepsy.
Methods: We selected patients with cryptogenic epilepsies and tested them for evidence of T. gondii IgG antibodies by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A control group was also tested for comparison.
Results: We have found a statistically-significant elevation of T. gondii antibodies among cryptogenic epilepsy patients as compared to controls [59% increase in optical density (OD), p = 0.013]. This association persisted after adjustment for subjects' gender and age in a multiple logistic regression model; however, it was no longer as statistically significant.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that chronic T. gondii infection with brain cysts may be a cause of cryptogenic epilepsy.