Encephalopathy related to status epilepticus during slow sleep (ESES). Pathophysiological insights and nosological considerations

Guido Rubboli*, Elena Gardella, Gaetano Cantalupo, Carlo Alberto Tassinari

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReviewForskningpeer review


Encephalopathy related to Status Epilepticus during slow Sleep (ESES) is a childhood epilepsy syndrome characterized by the appearance of cognitive, behavioral, and motor disturbances in conjunction with a striking activation of EEG epileptic abnormalities during non-REM sleep. After more than 50 years since the first description, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the appearance of encephalopathy in association with a sleep-related enhancement of epileptic discharges are incompletely elucidated. Recent experimental data support the hypothesis that the development of the ESES encephalopathic picture depends on a spike-induced impairment of the synaptic homeostasis processes occurring during normal sleep and that is particularly pronounced during the developmental age. During sleep, synaptic homeostasis is promoted by synaptic weakening/elimination after the increment of synaptic strength that occurs during wakefulness. The EEG can display modifications in synaptic strength by changes in sleep slow wave activity (SWA). Recent studies during active ESES have failed to show changes in sleep SWA, while these changes occurred again after recovery from ESES, thus supporting a spike-related interference on the normal homeostatic processes of sleep. This impairment, during the developmental period, can lead to disruption of cortical wiring and brain plastic remodeling, which lead to the, often irreversible, neuropsychological compromise typical of ESES. From the nosographic point of view, these pathophysiological data lend support to the maintenance of the term ESES, i.e., "encephalopathy related to status epilepticus during sleep". Indeed, this term conveys the concept that the extreme activation of epileptic discharges during sleep is directly responsible for the encephalopathy, hence the importance of defining this condition as an encephalopathy related to the exaggerated activation of epileptic activity during sleep. In this respect, ESES represents a genuine example of a "pure" epileptic encephalopathy in which sleep-related epileptic activity "per se" has a crucial role in determining the encephalopathic picture. This paper was presented at the 8th London-Innsbruck Colloquium on Status Epilepticus and Acute Seizures held in September 2022.

TidsskriftEpilepsy and Behavior
Tidlig onlinedato7 feb. 2023
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2023

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