Food and Behaviour Research

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A hypothesis regarding the molecular mechanism underlying dietary soy-induced effects on seizure propensity.

Westmark CJ. (2014) Front Neurol.  2014 Sep 3; 5 169 doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00169. eCollection 2014.

Web URL: View this and related abstract via PubMed here. Free full text is available online.

Abstract:

Numerous neurological disorders including fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, autism, and Alzheimer's disease are co-morbid with epilepsy.

We have observed elevated seizure propensity in mouse models of these disorders dependent on diet. Specifically, soy-based diets exacerbate audiogenic-induced seizures in juvenile mice. We have also found potential associations between the consumption of soy-based infant formula and seizure incidence, epilepsy comorbidity, and autism diagnostic scores in autistic children by retrospective analyses of medical record data.

In total, these data suggest that consumption of high levels of soy protein during postnatal development may affect neuronal excitability. Herein, we present our theory regarding the molecular mechanism underlying soy-induced effects on seizure propensity.

We hypothesize that soy phytoestrogens interfere with metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling through an estrogen receptor-dependent mechanism, which results in elevated production of key synaptic proteins and decreased seizure threshold.