Table of Contents
Epilepsy Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 312693, 8 pages
Review Article

Physiopathogenetic Interrelationship between Nocturnal Frontal Lobe Epilepsy and NREM Arousal Parasomnias

1Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, Hungary
2Department of Neurology, National Institute of Neuroscience, Budapest, Hungary

Received 29 November 2011; Accepted 18 January 2012

Academic Editor: Raffaele Manni

Copyright © 2012 Péter Halász et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. To build up a coherent shared pathophysiology of NFLE and AP and discuss the underlying functional network. Methods. Reviewing relevant published data we point out common features in semiology of events, relations to macro- and microstructural dynamism of NREM sleep, to cholinergic arousal mechanism and genetic aspects. Results. We propose that pathological arousals accompanied by confused behavior with autonomic signs and/or hypermotor automatisms are expressions of the frontal cholinergic arousal function of different degree, during the condition of depressed cognition by frontodorsal functional loss in NREM sleep. This may happen either if the frontal cortical Ach receptors are mutated in ADNFLE (and probably also in genetically not proved nonlesional cases as well), or without epileptic disorder, in AP, assuming gain in receptor functions in both conditions. This hypothesis incorporates the previous “liberation theory” of Tassinari and the “state dissociation hypothesis” of Bassetti and Terzaghi). We propose that NFLE and IGE represent epileptic disorders of the two antagonistic twin systems in the frontal lobe. NFLE is the epileptic facilitation of the ergotropic frontal arousal system whereas absence epilepsy is the epileptic facilitation of burst-firing working mode of the spindle and delta producing frontal thalamocortical throphotropic sleep system. Significance. The proposed physiopathogenesis conceptualize epilepsies in physiologically meaningful networks.