Epilepsy research focused on astrocytes

Mariko Onodera and Jan Meyer perform an experiment with potassium-sensitive microelectrodes in the Institute of Neurobiology at HHU.

Press Release:

During epileptic seizures, a large number of nerve cells in the brain fire excessively and in synchrony. This hyperactivity may lead to uncontrolled shaking of the body and involve periods of loss of consciousness. While about two thirds of patients respond to anti-epileptic medication, the remainder is refractory to medical treatment and shows drug-resistance. These patients are in urgent need for new therapeutic strategies.

Together with colleagues in Japan, Prof. Dr. Christine Rose and her doctoral student Jan Meyer from the Institute of Neurobiology at HHU have performed a study to address the cellular mechanisms that promote the development of epilepsy. While up to now, most studies and anti-epileptic drugs targeted nerve cells (neurons), this research team focused on a class of glial cells known as astrocytes.

Glial cells account for approximately half of all cells in the brain. There are different types of glial cells, which perform different functions. Astrocytes control the local environment and are responsible for the ion balance in the brain, but also play an important role in signal transmission between neurons.

In their recent paper, the researchers show that epileptic discharges lead to a rise in the pH of astrocytes, that is in their intracellular ‘alkalisation’. The change in pH disrupts the communication within the intercellular astrocyte networks. This reduced communication between astrocytes appears to exacerbate epileptic activity of neurons.

This finding points towards a potential new target for suppressing epileptogenesis at a very early stage, namely by using drugs to suppress changes in astrocytic pH accompanying neuronal activity.

The researchers were able to confirm this option by showing that animals which were given such drugs suffered less severely from epileptic hyperexcitability than untreated animals.

Prof. Rose said: “This observation is very intriguing. But it still needs to be established whether or not it can be transferred to humans. And it will take a very long time before any potential drug can be developed and be really used in the clinics.”

###

The research was carried out as a collaboration between the HHU and three universities in Japan (Keio University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Tokyo, Tohoku University in Sendai) as part of the “Young Glia” programme of the DFG-Priority Programme SPP 1757 “Functional Specialisations of Neuroglia” coordinated by Prof. Rose. This programme promotes collaboration between German and Japanese laboratories. In particular, it encourages and assists young scientists in realising their own bi-national research projects. For example, the HHU doctoral student Jan Meyer travelled to Japan, while Mariko Onodera from Tohoku University spent two periods working at the Institute of Neurobiology in D├╝sseldorf.

Original publication

Mariko Onodera, Jan Meyer, Kota Furukawa, Yuichi Hiraoka, Tomomi Aida, Kohichi Tanaka, Kenji F. Tanaka, Christine R. Rose, and Ko Matsui, Exacerbation of epilepsy by astrocyte alkalization and gap junction uncoupling, Journal of Neuroscience, 2021

Advertisement:

Bestseller No. 1
Epilepsy: A Comprehensive Textbook
  • Hardcover Book
  • Engel Jr., Jerome (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 3998 Pages - 11/25/2023 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 3
Epilepsy Awareness Walk For Epilepsy 2024 T-Shirt
  • 2024 Epilepsy Awareness shirt.
  • Epilepsy walk tshirt.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 4
Medical Card Awareness with Writable Panel and Patterned Lanyard, Emergency Contact PVC Card (Epilepsy)
  • In Case of Emergency Medical Card has writable ribbon so you can write your personal information and emergency contact, card size is 86x54 mm same as credit card.
  • SAFETY BREAKAWAY LANYARD: Lanyard with Safety Breakaway clip is 20 mm wide and 45 cm long, Lanyard is made from fabric.
  • EASY TO WRITE: You can use indelible pen to write on the card, please let the card dry for a little bit after writing on it
  • ID CARD HOLDER FOR LANYARD: ID card holder Outer size is 80x100mm (3.15x3.94 inches) and Inner size is 60x95 mm( 2.36x 3.74 inches), Horizontal clear double sided id card holder allows both sides of your ID to be read. Id card has waterproof property.
SaleBestseller No. 5
HEABY Medical Alert ID Bracelet Laser Engraved EPILEPSY Adjustable Wristband for Men Women Emergency First Aid
  • Laser engraved with EPILEPSY in all caps for easy readability
  • Silicone band and stainless steel plate are waterproof and comfortable
  • Adjustable size fits men, women and children
  • Laser engraving creates a permanent, vibrant mark
  • Packed in a gift box, great gift idea
Bestseller No. 6
Fuck Epilepsy Awareness Month Purple Ribbon Warrior Fighter T-Shirt
  • This Apparel with the Lavender Purple Ribbon is for Epilepsy Awareness Month in November and to Support Men & Women with this Seizure Disorder - whether it's your Warrior Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, Husband, Wife, Brother or Sister.
  • This Clothing with the Design "Fuck Epilepsy" makes a Great Gift Idea for an Epilepsy Survivor or Fighter you Love. Perfect for a Walk, Run, Fundraising Event or to Support a Loved One or Friend Fighting this Neurological Condition.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 7
My Brain Has Hiccups Purple Ribbon Epilepsy Awareness T-Shirt
  • Perfect as epilepsy awareness gifts for women, unique epilepsy awareness gifts for men, epilepsy awareness clothes for men, epilepsy awareness apparel for women, in november we wear purple novelty, epilepsy warrior themed gifts.
  • Looking for the perfect gift? Look no further! Our latest design is not only functional, but also makes for a great present for Christmas, Birthdays, Father's Day, Mother's Day. With its eye-catching style, it's sure to impress anyone on your gift list.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 8
Lyndong 4 Pack Epilepsy Silicone Medical Alert Emergency Bracelet Wristbands for Man Women (Epilepsy)
  • COLOR: A pack of 4 --Black,White,Gray and Blue,assorted color for everyday's different outfit
  • MEASURE: 8x0.47x0.08in .Suit for most adult wrist
  • Thick High Quality Silicone Bands:good softness, very comfortable to wear. Completely waterproof and hypoallergenic. Perfect medical alert bracelets for outdoor sport
  • PACKING:Comes with 4 pack Epilepsy bracelet,1 gift box, and a Medical ID Cards (Front and back availability for medical and emergency contact information,Carry in Your Wallet)
  • Each bracelet is printed with the words "Epilepsy".Corrosion engraving, the font is very clear, durable enough for years of active wear, will not fade or wear off
Bestseller No. 9
EPILEPSY: A Silent Killer
  • Hardcover Book
  • Castin, Mariola (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 93 Pages - 05/14/2024 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 10
Epilepsy Awareness T-Shirt
  • A funny purple ribbon for your epilepsy survivor who will survive epilepsy fighting. Show epilepsy awareness in the epilepsy awareness month. Get this great novelty for epilepsy support.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem

I get commissions for purchases made through links on this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.