Original article| Volume 23, ISSUE 1, P24-29, February 2001

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CSF glutamate/GABA concentrations in pyridoxine-dependent seizures: etiology of pyridoxine-dependent seizures and the mechanisms of pyridoxine action in seizure control


      Several lines of evidence suggest that the binding affinity of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) to the active form of pyridoxine is low in cases of pyridoxine-dependent seizures (PDS) and that a quantitative imbalance between excitatory (i.e. glutamate) and inhibitory (i.e. γ-aminobutyric acid, GABA) neurotransmitters could cause refractory seizures. However, inconsistent findings with GAD insufficiency have been reported in PDS. We report a case of PDS that is not accompanied by an elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) glutamate concentration. Intravenous pyridoxine phosphate terminated generalized seizures which were otherwise refractory to conventional anti-epileptic medicines. No seizure occurred once oral pyridoxine (13.5 mg/kg per day) was started in combination with phenobarbital sodium (PB, 3.7 mg/kg per day). The electroencephalogram (EEG) normalized approximately 8 months after pyridoxine was started. The patient is gradually acquiring developmental milestones during the 15 months follow-up period. The CSF glutamate and GABA concentrations were determined on three separate occasions: (1) during status epilepticus; (2) during a seizure-free period with administration of pyridoxine and PB; and (3) 6 days after suspension of pyridoxine and PB and immediately before a convulsion. The CSF glutamate level was below the sensitivity of detection (<1.0 μM) on each of the three occasions; the CSF GABA level was within the normal range or moderately elevated. The CSF and serum concentrations of vitamin B6-related substances, before pyridoxine supplementation, were within the normal range. We suggest that (1) PDS is not a discrete disease of single etiology in that insufficient activation of GAD may not account for seizure susceptibility in all cases and (2) mechanism(s) of anti-convulsive effect of pyridoxine, at least in some cases, may be independent of GAD activation.


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