Study finds possibility of new ways to treat, manage epilepsy seizures

May 7, 2018 by Paulina Zarate, University of Kentucky
Credit: University of Kentucky

New findings from the University of Kentucky published in the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrate that there may be ways to address blood-brain barrier dysfunction in epilepsy.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders and around one-third of patients do not respond well to anti- drugs. Until now, it was believed that the cause and effect of epilepsy was merely based on a dysfunction in the brain's neurons. However, recent findings suggest that epilepsy can be caused by many other factors, including a dysfunctional . Essentially, seizures erode the lining of capillaries in the brain which plays a role in letting nutrients in and keeping toxins out. This can result in a "leaky" blood-brain barrier, which leads to more seizures, resulting in epilepsy progression.

Björn Bauer's lab at the UK College of Pharmacy collaborated with Sanders-Brown Center on Aging scientists to conduct research focused on this barrier leakage. Bauer and colleagues hypothesized that glutamate, released during seizures, mediates an increase in certain enzymes and activity levels, thereby contributing to barrier leakage.

Through their research, they found that the neurotransmitter glutamate, released during seizures, increased the activity of two types of enzymes, which increased barrier leakage. They also found that blocking the enzyme cPLA2 and genetically deleting cPLA2 may prevent the changes mentioned and the associated leakage. This suggests that cPLA2 is responsible for barrier leakage.

Since 30 percent of people with epilepsy do not respond well to current anti-seizure medications, these findings demonstrate there could be new ways to treat and manage seizures that currently do not respond well to medication.

The data gathered implies that cPLA2 could be a pharmaceutical target to repair and normalize barrier dysfunction and improve the treatment of epilepsy and potentially other neurological disorders that are accompanied by blood-brain barrier leakage These strategies to repair dysfunction could be valuable add-on treatments to existing pharmacotherapy.

Explore further: Repairing a leaky blood-brain barrier in epilepsy

More information: Ralf G. Rempe et al. Matrix Metalloproteinase-Mediated Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction in Epilepsy, The Journal of Neuroscience (2018). DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2751-17.2018

Related Stories

Repairing a leaky blood-brain barrier in epilepsy

April 9, 2018
Blocking the activity of an enzyme that has a key role in the generation of recurring seizures may provide a new way to treat epilepsy that is resistant to anti-seizure drugs, according to a study of rats and mice published ...

Cannabis compound reduces seizures

February 27, 2018
About one third of patients treated for epilepsy continue to have seizures. Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the many active compounds in the cannabis (marijuana) plant, has gained attention as a treatment for epilepsy. Purified ...

Too few adults taking epilepsy meds have seizure control

April 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—Although most adults with epilepsy report taking epilepsy medication, less than half of those report having their seizures controlled, according to research published in the April 20 issue of the U.S. Centers ...

Treatments available for drug-resistant epilepsy

August 22, 2016
One in 26 people will develop epilepsy – a chronic disease characterized by unpredictable seizures—in their lifetime.

Brain waves may predict and potentially prevent epilepsy

December 21, 2017
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have discovered a promising biomarker for predicting and potentially preventing epileptic seizures in patients with brain injuries using EEG (electroencephalographic) recordings ...

Recommended for you

How does brain structure influence performance on language tasks?

October 17, 2018
The architecture of each person's brain is unique, and differences may influence how quickly people can complete various cognitive tasks.

Regulating microglial activity may reduce inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases

October 17, 2018
A group of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators is proposing that targeting immune checkpoints—molecules that regulate the activity of the immune system—in immune cells called microglia could reduce the ...

New imaging tool captures how sound moves through the chinchilla ear

October 17, 2018
Researchers have developed a new device that can be used to visualize how sound-induced vibrations travel through the ear. The technology is providing new insight into how the ear receives and processes sound waves and, with ...

Sensory perception is not a one-way street

October 17, 2018
When we interact with the world, such as when we reach out to touch an object, the brain actively changes incoming sensory signals based on anticipation. This so-called 'sensory gating' has now been investigated by neuroscientists ...

Environmental factors may trigger onset of multiple sclerosis

October 16, 2018
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that certain environmental conditions may precipitate structural changes that take place in myelin sheaths in the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS). Myelin sheaths are the "insulating ...

Cesarean-born mice show altered patterns of brain development, study finds

October 15, 2018
Cesarean-born mice show altered patterns of cell death across the brain, exhibiting greater nerve cell death than vaginally delivered mice in at least one brain area, a finding by Georgia State University researchers that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.