Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New therapy target for kids' fever-induced seizures

12.06.2013
Common drug reduces febrile seizures

Fever-induced childhood seizures, known as febrile seizures, can be terrifying for parents to witness. The full-body convulsions, which mostly affect children six months to five years old, can last from mere seconds up to more than 40 minutes.

Currently, children are not treated with daily anticonvulsant medication to prevent these seizures even when they recur repeatedly because toxic side effects of existing treatments outweigh potential benefits.

While scientists know these seizures typically occur when a fever is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), the exact mechanism at work has been unclear.

Now, in a new study appearing in the June 12, 2013 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, a team of Northwestern Medicine researchers has identified a new key factor in the generation of febrile seizures, leading to a new therapeutic target for humans. The team further found that nimodipine, a commonly available L-type calcium-channel blocker, dramatically reduced the incidence and duration of febrile seizures in animals.

"Until now, most scientists believed L-type calcium channels, pores in the membrane that allow calcium into cells, were not engaged in the initiation of the brain electrical activity," said the study's lead author Marco Martina, MD, associate professor in physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "We show that the activation of these channels, which are temperature sensitive, actually drives the electrical activity, not just follows it. As such, these channels may play a key role in seizure associated with high body temperature. Consequently, we can develop better treatments for toddlers and reduce the risk of negative outcomes."

Febrile seizures affect about five percent of children in the United States and are mostly benign, but do carry a risk of negative long-term consequences on brain development.

In this study, the Northwestern team used electrical recordings of the hippocampus of rats to determine that temperature-sensitive L-type calcium channels in triangle-shaped neurons, which are the major neuronal cell type of the brain cortex, play a major role in febrile seizures. This observation provides an alternative therapeutic target for febrile seizures that is distinct from current epilepsy drug therapy, which commonly focuses on blocking sodium channels.

Once the team identified L-type calcium channels in neurons as the likely culprit, scientists took the finding one step further to test their hypothesis, administering the calcium channel blocker nimodipine in an animal model as a treatment for febrile seizures. The results were striking: nimodipine dramatically reduced both the incidence and duration of febrile seizures in rat pups.

"The good news is that we already have many FDA-approved drugs that block L-type calcium channel," says Martina. "Therefore if proven effective in clinical trials, this could be an important advance in clinical care. Because L-type calcium channel blockers such as nimodipine are safe drugs, every toddler with febrile seizures can potentially be treated to stop or prevent seizures triggered by high fever and reduce the risk of long term neurological consequences of uncontrolled recurrent or prolonged febrile seizures."

Sookyong Koh, MD, associate professor in pediatrics—neurology at Feinberg, and co-author on the paper, adds that these findings could be helpful for one group of children in particular: those with genetic epilepsy syndromes whose seizures are triggered by fever, and for whom most anticonvulsants acting on sodium channels are harmful.

Funding for this study was provided by the Epilepsy Foundation, National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) grants NS064091 and NS073768, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. First author Daniel Radzicki is a graduate student in Northwestern University's Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program.

Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht PET imaging tracks Zika virus infection, disease progression in mouse model
20.09.2017 | US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases

nachricht 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

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: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>