Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 662–681 | Cite as

The mTOR Signaling Pathway in the Brain: Focus on Epilepsy and Epileptogenesis

  • Emilio Russo
  • Rita Citraro
  • Andrew Constanti
  • Giovambattista De Sarro


Recent evidence suggests that an altered mammalian (mechanistic) target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway and its pharmacological modulation might be implicated in several neurological diseases including epileptogenesis. mTOR is a molecular sensor, which regulates protein synthesis, enhancing mRNA translation of genes involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival, working as part of two distinct multimeric complexes known as mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTOR is an evolutionarily highly conserved serine/threonine kinase belonging to the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related kinase family and represents one of the most recently studied pathways in relation to epilepsy and epileptogenesis, due to its suggested pivotal role in many aspects of cellular proliferation and growth also including neurodegeneration, neurogenesis, and synaptic plasticity. In this review, we report the cellular and molecular features of mTOR and related pathways, analyze their function in the brain including all current related evidence of their role, and finally, discuss the possible involvement of mTOR signaling in epileptogenesis and epilepsy, giving further consideration to future developments in this area.


Rapamycin Antiepileptogenic Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) Seizure Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) Inflammation 



Funding needed to purchase articles for this survey were granted by the “Rete Regionale di informazione sul farmaco: informazione, formazione, e farmacovigilanza” Project Sponsored by Regione Calabria on the Behalf of Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio Russo
    • 1
  • Rita Citraro
    • 1
  • Andrew Constanti
    • 2
  • Giovambattista De Sarro
    • 1
  1. 1.Science of Health Department, School of MedicineUniversity “Magna Graecia” of CatanzaroCatanzaroItaly
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyUCL School of PharmacyLondonUK

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