Infantile spasms syndrome (IS) is a devastating early-onset epileptic encephalopathy associated with poor neurodevelopmental outcomes. When first-line treatment options, including adrenocorticotropic hormone and vigabatrin, are ineffective, the ketogenic diet (KD) is often employed to control seizures. Since the therapeutic impact of the KD is influenced by the gut microbiota, we examined whether targeted microbiota manipulation, mimicking changes induced by the KD, would be valuable in mitigating seizures. Employing a rodent model of symptomatic IS, we show that both the KD and antibiotic administration reduce spasm frequency and are associated with improved developmental outcomes. Spasm reductions were accompanied by specific gut microbial alterations, including increases in Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis. Mimicking the fecal microbial alterations in a targeted probiotic, we administered these species in a 5:1 ratio. Targeted probiotic administration reduced seizures and improved locomotor activities in control diet–fed animals, similar to KD-fed animals, while a negative control (Ligilactobacillus salivarius) had no impact. Probiotic administration also increased antioxidant status and decreased proinflammatory cytokines. Results suggest that a targeted probiotic reduces seizure frequency, improves locomotor activity in a rodent model of IS, and provides insights into microbiota manipulation as a potential therapeutic avenue for pediatric epileptic encephalopathies.
Chunlong Mu, Naghmeh Nikpoor, Thomas A. Tompkins, Anamika Choudhary, Melinda Wang, Wendie N. Marks, Jong M. Rho, Morris H. Scantlebury, Jane Shearer