The biochemical profile of post-mortem brain from people who suffered from epilepsy reveals novel insights into the etiopathogenesis of the disease

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Epilepsy not-otherwise-specified (ENOS) is one of the most common causes of chronic disorders impacting human health, with complex multifactorial etiology and clinical presentation. Understanding the metabolic processes associated with the disorder may aid in the discovery of preventive and therapeutic measures. Post-mortem brain samples were harvested from the frontal cortex (BA8/46) of people diagnosed with ENOS cases (n = 15) and age-and sex-matched control subjects (n = 15). We employed a targeted metabolomics approach using a combination of proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) and direct injection/liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (DI/LC-MS/MS). We accurately identified and quantified 72 metabolites using1H-NMR and 159 using DI/LC-MS/MS. Among the 212 detected metabolites, 14 showed significant concentration changes between ENOS cases and controls (p < 0.05; q < 0.05). Of these, adenosine monophosphate and O-acetylcholine were the most commonly selected metabolites used to develop predictive models capable of discriminating between ENOS and unaffected controls. Metabolomic set enrichment analysis identified ethanol degradation, butyrate metabolism and the mitochondrial beta-oxidation of fatty acids as the top three significantly perturbed metabolic pathways. We report, for the first time, the metabolomic profiling of postmortem brain tissue form patients who died from epilepsy. These findings can potentially expand upon the complex etiopathogenesis and help identify key predictive biomarkers of ENOS.

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