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:1/13/2016)... , January 13, 2016 ... the addition of the  "India Biometrics ... & Forecast (2015-2020)"  report to ... ) has announced the addition of ... Market - Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)" ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... Jan. 11, 2016  higi, the leading retail ... retail locations, web and mobile, today announced it ... from existing investors. --> ... to further innovate higi,s health platform – its ... portal – including expanding services and programs to ...
(Date:1/8/2016)... 2016 NXTD ), a company ... , a privately held leading direct seller of vacation ... 5000 fastest-growing company announced that on December 31, 2015, ... in Nxt-ID to develop a proprietary new wireless smart ... , a unique smart wallet that serves to securely ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... -- Biocom, the association representing the Southern California ... San Diego companies to Washington ... Advocacy Fly-In. Biocom Fly-In participants had the opportunity to meet ... Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Institutes ... Susan Davis and Scott Peters to ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , February 11, 2016 Non-profit ... Promote Genetic Understanding to Support Research and Discovery ... 100K, today announced an ambitious plan to sequence 100,000 individuals. ... Asian countries and at least 7 of North and East ... In the first phase, the project will focus on creating ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) is a new Contract ... experience, expertise, operational delivery and customer focus to ... in concert with industry leading commercial experts, the ... needs of its clients by providing value-based creative ... non-personal promotion. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant announces the ... Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market ... The first ... stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than a decade ... cell market, by stem cell type. This powerful 175 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: