Navigation Links
New role for an old molecule: protecting the brain from epileptic seizures
Date:3/6/2011

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] For years brain scientists have puzzled over the shadowy role played by the molecule putrescine, which always seems to be present in the brain following an epileptic seizure, but without a clear indication whether it was there to exacerbate brain damage that follows a seizure or protect the brain from it. A new Brown University study unmasks the molecule as squarely on the side of good: It seems to protect against seizures hours later.

Putrescine is one in a family of molecules called "polyamines" that are present throughout the body to mediate crucial functions such as cell division. Why they surge in the brain after seizures isn't understood. In a lengthy set of experiments, Brown neuroscientists meticulously traced their activity in the brains of seizure-laden tadpoles. What they found is that putrescine ultimately converts into the neurotransmitter GABA, which is known to calm brain activity. When they caused a seizure in the tadpoles, they found that the putrescine produced in a first wave of seizures helped tadpoles hold out longer against a second wave of induced seizures.

Carlos Aizenman, assistant professor of neuroscience and senior author of a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, said further research could ultimately produce a drug that targets the process, potentially helping young children with epilepsy. Tadpoles and toddlers aren't much alike, but this basic aspect of their brain chemistry is.

"Overall, the findings presented in this study may have important therapeutic implications," Aizenman and co-authors wrote. "We describe a novel role for polyamine metabolism that results in a protective effect on seizures induced in developing animals."

Detective work

The result that "priming" the tadpoles with a seizure led to them being 25 percent more resistant to a subsequent seizure four hours later was "puzzling," said Aizenman, who is affiliated with the Brown Institute for Brain Science. It took about a dozen more experiments before his team, led by graduate student Mark Bell, could solve the mystery.

First they hindered polyamine synthesis altogether and found that not only did the protection against seizures disappear, but it also left the tadpoles even more vulnerable to seizures. Then they interrupted the conversion of putrescine into other polyamines and found that this step enhanced the protection, indicating that putrescine was the beneficial member of the family.

Going with those results, they administered putrescine directly to the tadpoles and found that it took 65 percent longer to induce a seizure than in tadpoles that didn't get a dose of putrescine.

Further experiments showed that the protective effect occurs after putrescine is metabolized, with at least one intermediary step, into GABA, and GABA receptors are activated in brain cells.

"Potentially by manipulating this pathway we may be able to harness an ongoing protective effect against seizures," Aizenman said. "However I should caution that this is basic research and it is premature to predict how well this would translate into the clinic."

In the meantime, the research may also help explain a bit more about young brains in general, Aizenman said.

"Our findings may also tell us how normal brains, especially developing brains, may regulate their overall levels of activity and maybe keep a type of regulatory check on brain activity levels," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Protecting patients: Study shows that Johns Hopkins flu vaccination rates twice national average
2. Protecting the brain from of a deadly genetic disease
3. Protecting the brain from a deadly genetic disease
4. Strategies increase health-care worker vaccination rates -- protecting patients
5. ASTRO publishes supplement on protecting cancer patients by reducing radiation doses, side effects
6. Protecting Global Travelers with New Security Solutions
7. Smoke-free air laws effective at protecting children from secondhand smoke
8. Beating doctor burnout and protecting patients
9. Preventing GVHD by protecting gut stem cells
10. Gadgets not related to teenagers brain pain
11. Dementia Rates Escalate as Brain Capacity Diminishes with Age
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... London, May 23, 2017: Walter Schindler, the ... month as a Guest Speaker and Contributor to a weeklong series of classes, meetings, ... , Walter Schindler and SAIL Capital have received an ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... New York (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 ... ... NextGen LifeLabs, a leading equipment provider in the modern ART laboratory, to provide ... Institute in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. , NextGen LifeLabs, a MedTech Group Purchasing ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 23, 2017 , ... New patients with ... chronic bad breath, can now receive laser gum disease treatments from the doctors at ... and David Landau are raising awareness of the importance of receiving qualified treatment in ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American Academy of Thermology ... and clinical application of medical infrared imaging, has announced two new educational offerings ... services. , The first new educational offering is an online self-directed Physician Member ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... ... An inventor from Columbia, S.C., wants to offer people with manual disabilities ... a firework accident, so she couldn’t grip a pen properly," he said. "This inspired ... and created a prototype for the HELPEN HAND, a special pen that enables a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/10/2017)... , May 10, 2017 Global Health ... Latin America , published its 2017 ranking ... ranking is based on extensive data analysis from GHI,s ... largest hospitals database for the region. The GHI database covers ... , offering more than 130 data points for each institution ...
(Date:5/10/2017)... 2017 CSSi, the global leader in patient ... industry, is proud to announce the launch of its ... features both enriched content and a customized layout that ... company,s already well-established position as the top global patient ... many months of hard work, we are delighted to ...
(Date:5/9/2017)... 2017  Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company focused on the development of oral drug ... Property Office has granted Oramed a patent titled, ... The patent covers Oramed,s invention of an oral ... an incretin hormone that stimulates the secretion of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: