Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Commonplace sugar compound silences seizures

17.10.2006
Though in clinical use for decades, a small, sweet-tasting compound is revealing a startling new face as a potential cure for epilepsy.

2-deoxy-glucose, or 2DG, has long been used in radio labeling, medical scanning and cancer imaging studies in humans. But now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found the substance also blocks the onset of epileptic seizures in laboratory rats.

Reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the findings have potentially huge implications for up to half of all epileptic patients who currently have no access to treatment, says senior author Avtar Roopra, a UW-Madison assistant professor of neurology.

"We pumped the rats full [of 2DG] and still saw no side effects," says Roopra, who estimates that the compound may be available for human use within five years. "I see 2DG as an epilepsy management treatment much like insulin is used to treat diabetes."

"All the available epilepsy treatments have focused on suppressing seizures," says co-author and renowned epilepsy expert Tom Sutula, a UW-Madison professor of neurology. "There has been hope that [new drugs] will not only suppress seizures, but modify their consequences. [2DG] appears to be a novel treatment that offers great promise to achieve that vision."

About 1 percent of the world's population suffers from epilepsy, a neurological condition that makes people susceptible to seizures. Scientists believe that seizures, of which there are many kinds, occur due to sudden changes in how brain cells send electrical signals to each other. In about 30 to 50 percent of epilepsy patients, available treatments - including the removal of parts of the brain's temporal lobe - are largely ineffective.

2DG is essentially a more palatable version of the "ketogenic," or sugar-free, diets that some researchers have long recommended to epilepsy patients. Indeed, the notion of a sugar-free diet actually stretches back thousands of years to Biblical times, when healers sometimes prescribed starvation as a potent way to fend off seizures.

UW-Madison researchers first began to investigate the role of sugar in controlling seizures after early experiments showed that children on sugar-free diets can rapidly experience seizures when they consume even a small dose of carbohydrates, such as a cookie or a little piece of bread.

But ketogenic regimens can be a miserable experience. "The kids can't eat any sugar at all. Imagine no bread or Christmas cake," says Roopra. But 2DG would work as an effective substitute because it enters cells and clogs up certain cellular enzymes. As a result, the body can't use its own glucose.

Though ketogenic diets seem to work in many epilepsy patients in whom existing treatments have been unsuccessful, scientists have struggled to understand the exact cellular connection between no sugar and no seizures. The UW-Madison work for the first time clears up some of that mystery.

Roopra has long explored how certain proteins known as "transcription factors" turn neuronal genes on or off. He has been particularly intrigued by one transcription factor known as NRSF, which is thought to control up to 1,800 genes in the brain, including many that are implicated in epilepsy. Like an electrical motherboard, NRSF ensures that neuronal genes switch "on" in the body's neurons, while remaining switched "off" in other regions where they normally play no role.

Roopra found that NRSF binds to another protein called CTBP. The finding "immediately raised alarm bells," Roopra says, because CTBP also binds to a free-floating molecule - NADH - that emerges when sugars break down in cells. To his surprise, Roopra found that CTBP binds to either NRSF or NADH. In other words, a cell with a lot of glucose generates a lot of NADH, so CTBP is more likely to bind with the sugar byproduct than NRSF. But without CTBP, NRSF most likely derails the normal function of certain neuronal genes - including those connected to epilepsy.

Scientists believe that NSRF also controls genes that potentially play a role in cancer. Roopra is planning future studies to test whether 2DG holds promise for combating breast cancer, or fast-spreading glioblastomas.

The UW-Madison team has patented 2DG for its use against epilepsy in collaboration with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW-Madison's technology transfer arm.

Avtar Roopra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>