This study in the April 15, 2016 issue of Elife examines and concludes the estrogen blockers may be helpful in the treatment of seizures.
Most anti-seizure medications work by globally reducing brain activity leading to side effects like drowsiness, dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
Estrogen was been found to be elevated in both men and women after seizures. The authors of this study looked to examine whether seizures potentiated the production of estrogen in the brain, and whether estrogen blocking agents decreased seizures.
The authors concluded in both male and female rats seizures increased the production of estrogens by the hippocampus. Because estrogens are known to increase the activity of cells in the hippocampus, this suggested that estrogens that are produced in the brain during seizures could make seizures worse. Sato and Woolley tested this by injecting rats with a drug that inhibits estrogen production, called an aromatase inhibitor, shortly after seizures began. The drug strongly suppressed seizures, whereas control rats that did not receive the injection continued to have seizures.
Overall, Sato and Woolley show that the production of estrogen in the brain escalates seizure activity, and suggest that aromatase inhibitors may be useful for controlling seizures. Several questions remain that require further study. How does seizure activity lead to estrogen being made in the brain? How do estrogen levels go back down after a seizure? What circumstances other than seizures stimulate brain estrogen production, and what roles does this production process play in activity that is not related to seizures?