Navigation Links
UC Riverside neuroscientists' discovery could bring relief to epilepsy sufferers
Date:6/21/2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have made a discovery in the lab that could help drug manufacturers develop new antiepileptic drugs and explore novel strategies for treating seizures associated with epilepsy a disease affecting about two million Americans.

Neurons, the basic building blocks of the nervous system, are cells that transmit information by electrical and chemical signaling. During epileptic seizures, which generally last from a few seconds to minutes and terminate spontaneously, the concentrations of ions both inside the neuron and the space outside the neuron change due to abnormal ion flow to and from neurons through ion "channels" tiny gateways that are embedded to the surface of the neuron.

Ordinarily, intracellular (inside the cell) sodium concentration is low compared to extracellular sodium (the reverse is true of potassium). During seizure, however, there is a buildup of intracellular sodium, with sodium ions moving into neurons from the extracellular space, and potassium ions doing the opposite.

To understand exactly how neurons function during epileptic seizures, Maxim Bazhenov, an associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience, and Giri P. Krishnan, a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, developed and used realistic computer simulations in their analyses and found that while there is a progressive and slow increase in intracellular sodium during seizure, it is this accumulation of intracellular sodium that leads to the termination of the seizure.

"According to our model, sodium concentration reaches a maximum just before the seizure terminates," Bazhenov said. "After seizure initiation, this intracellular sodium buildup is required to terminate the seizure."

The researchers' computational model simulates the cortical network. (The cortex is the outer layer of the cerebrum of the mammalian brain. A sheet of neural tissue, it is often referred to as gray matter.) The model simulates neurons, connections between neurons, variable extracellular and intracellular concentrations for sodium and potassium ions and variable intracellular concentrations for chloride and calcium ions.

Bazhenov explained that conventional antiepileptic drugs are commonly designed to target various sodium channels in order to reduce their activity.

"These drugs essentially slow down the intracellular build-up of sodium, but this only prolongs seizure duration," he said. "This is because seizure duration is affected by the rate of intracellular sodium accumulation the slower this rate, the longer the seizure duration."

According to Bazhenov, targeting the sodium channels is not the best approach for drugs to take. He explained that even for drugs to increase the activity of the sodium channels (in order to reduce seizure duration) there is an undesirable effect: seizures become more likely.

"The drugs ought to be targeting other ion channels, such as those responsible for the buildup of intracellular chloride," he advises. "According to our model, restricting the chloride increase would lead to a faster termination of seizure and can even make seizures impossible."

Bazhenov and Krishnan's model also shows that the occurrence of seizures depends critically on the activity of ionic "pumps" structures that are also embedded to the surface of neurons. These pumps help remove the sodium and chloride ions from inside the neurons and critically influence their concentrations in the brain.

Study results appear in the June 15 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.


'/>"/>

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UC Riverside biochemists devise method for bypassing aluminum toxicity effects in plants
2. Vitamin D a key player in overall health of several body organs, says UC Riverside biochemist
3. UC Riverside scientist to explore how vegetation affects urban heat islands
4. UC Riverside rice geneticist receives high honor from US Department of Agriculture
5. UC Riverside biochemist to study how crops can increase protein production
6. UC Riverside researcher names lichen after President Barack Obama
7. UC Riverside professor receives top scientific honor
8. UC Riverside geneticist receives highest honor from Botanical Society of America
9. Public lecture at UC Riverside to discuss origin and fate of universe
10. UC Riverside student is 1 of only 5 persons selected for challenging Arctic expedition
11. UC Riverside research on barley genome gets boost from $1 million USDA grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UC Riverside neuroscientists' discovery could bring relief to epilepsy sufferers
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 The Controller General ... Controller Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR ... Continue Reading ... ... picture) and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and ... researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LINDA, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... to upregulate any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding ... (CRISPRa) system with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical ... place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings ... well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support ... Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this week. The ... health care professionals to enhance the patient care experience by ... other health care professionals to help women who have been ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: