Proof-of-concept that network pharmacology is effective to modify development of acquired temporal lobe epilepsy
Epilepsy is a complex network phenomenon that, as yet, cannot be prevented or cured. We recently proposed network-based approaches to prevent epileptogenesis. For proof of concept we combined two drugs (levetiracetam and topiramate) for which in silico analysis of drug-protein interaction networks indicated a synergistic effect on a large functional network of epilepsy-relevant proteins. Using the intrahippocampal kainate mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, the drug combination was administered during the latent period before onset of spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS). When SRS were periodically recorded by video-EEG monitoring after termination of treatment, a significant decrease in incidence and frequency of SRS was determined, indicating antiepileptogenic efficacy. Such efficacy was not observed following single drug treatment. Furthermore, a combination of levetiracetam and phenobarbital, for which in silico analysis of drug-protein interaction networks did not indicate any significant drug-drug interaction, was not effective to modify development of epilepsy. Surprisingly, the promising antiepileptogenic effect of the levetiracetam/topiramate combination was obtained in the absence of any significant neuroprotective or anti-inflammatory effects as indicated by multimodal brain imaging and histopathology. High throughput RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) of the ipsilateral hippocampus of mice treated with the levetiracetam/topiramate combination showed that several genes that have been linked previously to epileptogenesis, were significantly differentially expressed, providing interesting entry points for future mechanistic studies. Overall, we have discovered a novel combination treatment with promise for prevention of epilepsy.