May 25, 2014

Caffeine May Save Brain Cells in People with Epilepsy

Might a cup of coffee a day help protect the brain from life-threatening seizure activity?

For many years the neuromodulator adenosine has been recognized as an endogenous anticonvulsant molecule and termed a “retaliatory metabolite.” As the core molecule of ATP, adenosine forms a unique link between cell energy and neuronal excitability.
Source:  Adenosine, Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy: The Emerging Therapeutic Relationship Between Metabolism and Brain Activity

SUDEP is a serious problem that causes great fear among those who have epilepsy, especially in patients who are non verbal and can't tell us what they are experiencing. ..

 "Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a significant cause of mortality in people with epilepsy. Two postulated causes for SUDEP, cardiac and respiratory depression, can both be explained by overstimulation of adenosine receptors. We hypothesized that SUDEP is a consequence of a surge in adenosine as a result of prolonged seizures combined with deficient adenosine clearance; consequently, blockade of adenosine receptors should prevent SUDEP. Here we induced impaired adenosine clearance in adult mice by pharmacologic inhibition of the adenosine-removing enzymes, adenosine kinase and deaminase. Combination of impaired adenosine clearance with kainic acid-induced seizures triggered sudden death in all animals. Most importantly, the adenosine receptor antagonist caffeine, when given after seizure onset, increased survival from 23.75 +/- 1.35 min to 54.86 +/- 6.59 min (p < 0.01).

 Our data indicate that SUDEP is due to overactivation of adenosine receptors and that caffeine treatment AFTER seizure onset might be beneficial."

Source:  2010 Mar;51(3):465-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02248.x. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

A novel mouse model for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP): role of impaired adenosine clearance.