Epilepsy in nonhuman primates

Leah Croll, Charles A. Szabo, Noha Abou-Madi, Orrin Devinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: Nonhuman primates (NHPs) are model organisms for understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of epilepsy in humans, while data from human patients informs the diagnosis and treatment of NHP with seizures and epilepsy. We reviewed the literature and surveyed veterinarians at zoos and NHP research centers to (a) better define the range of seizures and epilepsy in NHP, (b) understand how NHPs can inform our knowledge of the pathophysiology and treatment of epilepsy in humans, and (c) identify gaps of knowledge and develop more effective guidelines to treat seizures and epilepsy in NHP. Methods: We searched PrimateLit, PubMed, and Google Scholar for studies on experimental models of epilepsy in NHPs and on naturally occurring seizures and epilepsy in NHPs in captivity. In addition, we created a survey to assess methods to diagnose and treat epilepsy in NHPs. This survey was sent to 41 veterinarians at major international zoos and research facilities with NHP populations to study seizure phenomenology, diagnostic criteria for seizures and epilepsy, etiology, and antiseizure therapies in NHPs. Results: We summarize the data from experimental and natural models of epilepsy in NHPs and case reports of epilepsy of unknown origin in captive primates. In addition, we present survey data collected from veterinarians at eight zoos and one research facility. Experimental data from NHP epilepsy models is abundant, whereas data from primates who develop epilepsy in the wild or in zoos is very limited, constraining our ability to advance evidence-based medicine. Significance: Characterization of seizure or epilepsy models in NHPs will provide insights into mechanisms and new therapies that cannot be addressed by other animal models. NHP research will better inform species-specific diagnoses and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1526-1538
Number of pages13
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019


  • antiepileptics
  • baboon
  • seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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