Homeostatic effects of plasma valproate levels on corticospinal excitability changes induced by 1Hz rTMS in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Clin Neurophysiol, Volume 117, Issue 6, p.1217-27 (2006)


Adolescent, Adult, Anticonvulsants, Combined Modality Therapy, Homeostasis, Humans, Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile, Pyramidal Tracts, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Treatment Outcome, Valproic Acid


<p><b>OBJECTIVE: </b>The preliminary results of noninvasive brain stimulation for epilepsy treatment have been encouraging, but mixed. Two important factors may contribute to this heterogeneity: the altered brain physiology of patients with epilepsy and the variable presence of antiepileptic drugs. Therefore, we aimed to study the effects of 1 Hz rTMS on corticospinal excitability in patients with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) in two different conditions: low- or high-plasma valproate levels.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>Fifteen patients with JME and 12 age-matched healthy subjects participated in this study. Corticospinal excitability before and after 1 Hz rTMS was assessed in JME patients with low- and high-plasma valproate levels; and these results were compared with those in healthy subjects.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>In patients with chronic use of valproate and low-plasma concentrations, 1 Hz rTMS had a similar significant inhibitory effect on corticospinal excitability as in healthy subjects. However, in the same patients when the serum valproate concentration was high, 1 Hz rTMS increased the corticospinal excitability significantly. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between plasma valproate levels and the motor threshold changes after 1 Hz rTMS.</p><p><b>CONCLUSIONS: </b>Our findings can be accounted for by mechanisms of homeostatic plasticity and illustrate the dependency of the modulatory effects of rTMS on the physiologic state of the targeted brain cortex.</p><p><b>SIGNIFICANCE: </b>The therapeutic use of rTMS in epilepsy should take into consideration the interaction between rTMS and drugs that change cortical excitability.</p>

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