- Brain injury may result in the development of epilepsy, one of the most common neurological disorders. We previously demonstrated that albumin is critical in the generation of epilepsy after blood-brain barrier (BBB) compromise. Here, we identify TGF-beta pathway activation as the underlying mechanism. We demonstrate that direct activation of the TGF-beta pathway by TGF-beta1 results in epileptiform activity similar to that after exposure to albumin. Coimmunoprecipitation revealed binding of albumin to TGF-beta receptor II, and Smad2 phosphorylation confirmed downstream activation of this pathway. Transcriptome profiling demonstrated similar expression patterns after BBB breakdown, albumin, and TGF-beta1 exposure, including modulation of genes associated with the TGF-beta pathway, early astrocytic activation, inflammation, and reduced inhibitory transmission. Importantly, TGF-beta pathway blockers suppressed most albumin-induced transcriptional changes and prevented the generation of epileptiform activity. Our present data identifies the TGF-beta pathway as a novel putative epileptogenic signaling cascade and therapeutic target for the prevention of injury-induced epilepsy.