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 Düsseldorf.

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:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Treating Epilepsy Naturally : A Guide to Alternative and Adjunct Therapies
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Murphy, Patricia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 10/17/2001 (Publication Date) - McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 2
Nutrition Strength Dog Seizure Support, Supplement for Epilepsy in Dogs, with Organic Valerian Root, Chamomile and Blue Vervain, Plus L-Tryptophan Dog Stress and Anxiety Aid, 120 Chewable Tablets
  • Highly rated supplement to control and manage dog seizures: 365 day guarantee; if you are not happy with our supplement for epilepsy in dogs, simply contact us for a full refund; we want you to be completely satisfied with our premium tablets, which help to rebalance and fortify your dog's immune and nervous systems to make it easier to control and manage epileptic fits; manufactured using the highest standards, our seizure tablets can be taken with your dog's food or separately
  • Reduce the frequency of epileptic attacks: by helping to strengthen your dog's defensive systems, Nutrition Strength's premium seizure supplement can make it less likely that your pet suffers from epileptic fits in the first place; formulated with organic passion flower and l tryptophan, our tablets work to balance your dog's behavior and limit nervous outbursts, and valerian root helps to reduce scratching and restlessness
  • Limit the damage from epileptic seizures: when attacks do occur, a well balanced nervous system helps to promote a healthy recovery and limit the damage from the epileptic fits, which are also likely to be of a shorter duration; furthermore, organic chamomile works together with other soothing ingredients in our supplement to help relax your pet and relieve stress which can lead to unrestrained jumping, biting and barking
  • Support a strong immune system in dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes: our supplement for epilepsy in dogs is formulated for canines of any breed, age and size; your furry 4 legged friends will love taking Nutrition Strength's tasty chewable tablets; easily digested and highly absorbable, our supplement can help support a strong immune system to relieve symptoms associated with epileptic seizures, as well as stress in dogs with overactive nervous systems
  • Made in the USA: Nutrition Strength's dog seizure support, supplement for epilepsy in dogs, with organic valerian root, chamomile and blue vervain, plus l tryptophan dog stress and anxiety aid is human grade; our premium tablets for epileptic seizure in dogs support meet the strictest animal supplement manufacturing guidelines, to guarantee your pet's safety, and is made with carefully selected, high quality ingredients
SaleBestseller No. 3
Ketogenic Diet Therapies for Epilepsy and Other Conditions, Seventh Edition
  • Kossoff MD, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 12/16/2020 (Publication Date) - Demos Health (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 4
Kids Epilepsy Awareness Shirt Powerful Brainwaves Purple T-Shirt
  • My Brainwaves Are So Powerful Doctors Study Them design. Show support for friends and loved ones in the epilepsy community. Spread love and support for seizure dogs, caretakers, brain disorders, neurological disorders & central nervous system disorders.
  • Spread the message for warriors and fighters wearing the purple ribbon. Don't underestimate our women, grandmas, aunts, moms, mothers, mamas, wife, sisters, sons, daughters, kids, boys, and girls. Gift for epilepsy awareness month, a walk or march.
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
Bestseller No. 5
HEABY Medical Alert ID Bracelet Laser Engraved Epilepsy Adjustable Wristband for Men Women Emergency First Aid
  • 【MEDICAL CONDITION】: Laser Engraved with "EPILEPSY" ALL-CAPS (for readability) in Arial font, black silicone medical alert ID bracelet.
  • 【Material】: 316L stainless steel metal plate and silicone band. Waterproof, very comfortable to wear, waterproof and Low-allergy.
  • 【Size】: 8.46" Length and 0.40" width siliconce band, 1.5" Length and 0.47" width metal plate, adjustable to different sizes for men, women, children.
  • 【LASER ENGRAVING】: environmentally-friendly technology, it is easy to read and vibrant, permanent mark that will stand for five, ten or twenty years.
  • 【PACKING】: Wrapped in velvet bag, Packaged in black gift box, good gift for your lover, family, friend and coworkers.
Bestseller No. 6
Epilepsy: In Search of Effective Therapies
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • (c) Information Television Network (Director)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Bestseller No. 7
Epilepsy: A Patient and Family Guide
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Devinsky MD, Orrin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 411 Pages - 12/21/2007 (Publication Date) - Demos Health (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 8
Seized: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a Medical, Historical, and Artistic Phenomenon
  • LaPlante, Eve (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 06/14/2016 (Publication Date) - Open Road Distribution (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 9
Epilepsy Awareness, Epilepsy Purple Ribbon T-Shirt
  • This Epilepsy Awareness design is a perfect gift for a patient with a neurological disorder, survivor, fighter, warrior and an Epilepsy Awareness supporter. An ideal gift idea for men, women, and kids to wear on Epilepsy Day.
  • This design makes a great Birthday or Christmas present for your dad, mom, brother, sister, daughter, and son who are epileptics and fighting the brain disease called Epilepsy. It can also raise Epilepsy Awareness. It can be a graphic for the whole family
  • Lightweight, Classic fit, Double-needle sleeve and bottom hem
SaleBestseller No. 10
Wyllie's Treatment of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wyllie MD, Elaine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1096 Pages - 05/13/2020 (Publication Date) - LWW (Publisher)

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