Korean J Pediatr.  2011 Jun;54(6):241-245. 10.3345/kjp.2011.54.6.241.

Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors for treatment in tuberous sclerosis

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Chungbuk National University, College of Medicine, Cheongju, Korea. wskim@chungbuk.ac.kr

Abstract

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic multisystem disorder that results from mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, and is associated with hamartomas in several organs, including subependymal giant cell tumors. The neurological manifestations of TSC are particularly challenging and include infantile spasms, intractable epilepsy, cognitive disabilities, and autism. The TSC1- and TSC2-encoded proteins modulate cell function via the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling cascade, and are key factors in the regulation of cell growth and proliferation. The mTOR pathway provides an intersection for an intricate network of protein cascades that respond to cellular nutrition, energy levels, and growth factor stimulation. In the brain, TSC1 and TSC2 have been implicated in cell body size, dendritic arborization, axonal outgrowth and targeting, neuronal migration, cortical lamination, and spine formation. The mTOR pathway represents a logical candidate for drug targeting, because mTOR regulates multiple cellular functions that may contribute to epileptogenesis, including protein synthesis, cell growth and proliferation, and synaptic plasticity. Antagonism of the mTOR pathway with rapamycin and related compounds may provide new therapeutic options for TSC patients.

Keyword

Tuberous sclerosis complex; mTOR inhibitor
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