Neuropathology of Seizure Disorders

Vanessa Moreno, Meenakshi B. Bhattacharjee, Suzanne Zein-Eldin Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate recurrent seizures. Pathologists may be called upon to evaluate brain tissue from patients with a history of seizures, and it is important to keep in mind the diversity of histopathologic findings associated with this disorder and the limitations imposed by both, limited sampling and neuroanatomy. Review of the literature has shown that the three most common clinicopathological entities in surgically resected medically refractory epilepsy are mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS), long-term epilepsy-associated tumors (LEAT), and malformations of cortical development (MCD) which includes focal cortical dysplasia (FCD). Here, we will review the most common clinicopathological entities seen in surgically resected cases of refractory epilepsy, such as MTS, MCD, LEAT, as well as vascular and encephalitic lesions. We will also touch upon traumatic brain injuries and SUDEP, and the role of the forensic pathologist. A better understanding of the etiopathology, recent classifications, and underlying molecular mechanisms involved in each entity will be helpful in order to identify the cause of death in patients with seizure disorders, candidates who will benefit from tailored surgical resection strategies, as well as to develop new and targeted drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalAcademic Forensic Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


  • Brain
  • Forensic pathology
  • Neuropathology
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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