Publications & Posters

Serum biomarkers of cerebral cellular stress after self limited tonic clonic seizures: An exploratory study

Seizure | December 17, 2020

Nass RD, Akgün K, Elger C, Reichmann H, Wagner M, Surges R and Ziemssen T

Seizure. 2020 Dec 17;85:1-5




It has been debated for decades whether single, self-limited seizures damage cerebral cells. Meanwhile, very sensitive measurements of biomarkers have become available, i.e. tau, neurofilament protein light (NFL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin carboxyterminate hydrolase L1 (UCHL-1), which we explored in this study.


Adult patients of the epilepsy monitoring unit were admitted to the study after written consent. Blood samples were drawn at baseline, immediately after a TCS and after two, six and 24 h. The markers were measured from frozen samples with a single-molecule array (SIMOA).


20 patients and 20 seizures were included. All markers showed subtle but significant postictal increases and returned to normal within the next few hours (p < 0.05). An increase of at least 100 % from baseline was noted in 30 % of patients for tau, 25 % for UCHL-1 and 15 % for GFAP, while NFL levels never increased above 100 %. Lactate was slightly correlated with the tau increase (r = 0.47, p = 0.037), leukocytes were correlated with postictal changes of GFAP (r = 0.68 p = 0.001).


Our data supports the assumption that significant cerebral stress occurs in some but not all self-limited TCS. The postictal inflammatory response in particular seems to play an important role.