Navigation Links
Epilepsy-induced brain cell damage prevented in the laboratory

St. Louis, October 29, 2007 — For some epilepsy patients, the side effects of epilepsy can be as troubling as the seizures. One pressing concern is the cognitive impairment seizures often inflict, which potentially includes memory loss, slowed reactions and reduced attention spans.

Now scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have directly observed seizure-induced structural changes in brain cells in laboratory animals. They report in The Journal of Neuroscience that the insights they gained allowed them to use a drug to block those changes in the brain.

"Assuming that these structural changes are linked to cognitive impairment -- and there's a lot of data to suggest that's true – then this could provide us with a path to therapies that reduce cognitive problems in epilepsy," says senior author Michael Wong, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, of anatomy and neurobiology, and of pediatrics.

Approximately 1 to 2 percent of the general population suffers from some form of epilepsy. Severe or prolonged seizures can cause brain cell death, leading to anatomic damage visible on brain scans. But in some cases the cognitive impairments caused by seizures cannot be linked to discernible brain damage.

Prior studies have suggested that seizures may damage dendrites, treelike branches that extend from a nerve cell to receive signals. In studies of human tissue, researchers noted the loss of spines, small bumps on the exterior of the dendrite. Spines are known to be important for the formation of synapses, junctions where two nerve cells communicate across a small gap.

"Previous studies were helpful in suggesting that dendrite structure was being damaged, but they couldn't prove cause-and-effect and provided only limited information on the timing and mechanisms of the processes that led to damage," says Wong.

Led by postdoctoral fellows Ling-hui Zeng, M.D., Ph.D. and Lin Xu, Ph.D., a team of researcher's in Wong's laboratory applied an approach known as multiphoton imaging to track brain cell changes during seizures. They used a drug to induce seizures in mice and imaged brain cells before, during and after seizures.

"Within minutes, we found changes were happening quite rapidly in the dendrites," Wong says. "They would become swollen and the spines would disappear. After the seizure, the swelling would go down but the spines did not return. That continued to be the case for at least 24 hours."

Scientists think spines may be linked to long-term potentiation, a phenomenon that makes it easier for messages to pass between nerve cells and may be essential for the encoding of memories. This could mean loss of spines in seizures impairs learning.

When researchers probed the mechanisms behind the spine loss, they found seizures were causing the breakdown of actin, a molecule widely used in cell structures. When they gave the mice a drug, FK506, prior to inducing seizures, they were able to block that breakdown.

"To follow-up, we're going to be looking at whether we can tie these changes in dendrite structure to behavioral changes in the mice," Woo says. "We're also going to be searching for drugs that can reverse this effect after a seizure happens. We would like to avoid putting epilepsy patients on a new drug all the time and hope instead to find something that can be given immediately after a seizure to prevent cognitive impairment."


Contact: Michael C. Purdy
Washington University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Use of Cellular Phones associated with Increased risk of Brain Tumors
2. Brain death – How to cope with it
3. Multi billion-dollar suit filed against cell phone firm for causing brain tumours
4. “Brain fingerprinting”- The new lie detectr
5. Nasal Spray Could Take Drugs Direct to Brain.
6. Two doctors suspended for wrong brain surgery
7. The brain loves a surprise
8. Virus Combats Brain Tumour
9. Increase in sugar...decrease in brain function!!!
10. Alcohol shrinks brain
11. Roller coaster takes brain for a big ride!!
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... According ... carried out by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested ... hospitalizations for head injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented ... way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ProSidebar: Fashion is a ... X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily add an informative sidebar to ... title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, lines, bars, and text with ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking ... is an interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are presently ... could benefit from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The men and women on ... organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, shown commitment to their ... healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and professional efforts. , Becker's ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 --> ... to use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... metastases, and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in ... hospital. Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast ... after the patient has left, thus making it possible to ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the Global Cell Surface Testing ... Opportunities" report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds "Global ... and "Investigation Report on China Repaglinide ... 2021 forecasts data and information to ... . --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: