Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 404263, 6 pages
Research Article

Lesions of Acetylcholine Neurons in Refractory Epilepsy

1Department of Brain Development and Neural Regeneration, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo 156-8506, Japan
2Department of Psychophysiology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo 156-8506, Japan

Received 13 March 2012; Accepted 8 May 2012

Academic Editor: F. G. Wouterlood

Copyright © 2012 Masaharu Hayashi 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.


We have examined brainstem lesions in patients with refractory epilepsy disorders, including West syndrome (WS), Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), and dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA). Acetylcholinergic neurons (AchNs) in the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) are involved in mental development, and disruption of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors can lead to epilepsy. In order to investigate the involvement of lesions of AchNs in refractory epilepsy, we performed immunohistochemical analyses of AchNs in the PPN in autopsy cases who had a past history of WS and/or LGS and in DRPLA cases who showed progressive myoclonic epilepsy. In addition, we performed a preliminary quantification of the levels of acetylcholine, neuropeptides, and monoamine metabolites in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with WS and benign convulsions associated with mild gastroenteritis (CwG). In the PPN analysis, the total number of neurons and the number of AchNs were reduced in WS/LGS and WS cases, while DRPLA cases showed a decrease in the number and percentage of AchNs. In the CSF analysis, WS patients demonstrated a reduction in the levels of inhibitory neuropeptides, while CwG patients showed increased levels of acetylcholine and decreased levels of serotonin metabolites. These data suggest the possible involvement of lesions of AchNs in WS and DRPLA.