The Molecular Genetic Interaction Between Circadian Rhythms and Susceptibility to Seizures and Epilepsy

Christopher J. Re, Alexander I. Batterman, Jason R. Gerstner, Russell J. Buono, Thomas N. Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Seizure patterns observed in patients with epilepsy suggest that circadian rhythms and sleep/wake mechanisms play some role in the disease. This review addresses key topics in the relationship between circadian rhythms and seizures in epilepsy. We present basic information on circadian biology, but focus on research studying the influence of both the time of day and the sleep/wake cycle as independent but related factors on the expression of seizures in epilepsy. We review studies investigating how seizures and epilepsy disrupt expression of core clock genes, and how disruption of clock mechanisms impacts seizures and the development of epilepsy. We focus on the overlap between mechanisms of circadian-associated changes in SCN neuronal excitability and mechanisms of epileptogenesis as a means of identifying key pathways and molecules that could represent new targets or strategies for epilepsy therapy. Finally, we review the concept of chronotherapy and provide a perspective regarding its application to patients with epilepsy based on their individual characteristics (i.e., being a “morning person” or a “night owl”). We conclude that better understanding of the relationship between circadian rhythms, neuronal excitability, and seizures will allow both the identification of new therapeutic targets for treating epilepsy as well as more effective treatment regimens using currently available pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number520
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Jun 23 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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