Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neural Transplant Reduces Absence Epilepsy Seizures in Mice

30.05.2014

New research from North Carolina State University pinpoints the areas of the cerebral cortex that are affected in mice with absence epilepsy and shows that transplanting embryonic neural cells into these areas can alleviate symptoms of the disease by reducing seizure activity. The work may help identify the areas of the human brain affected in absence epilepsy and lead to new therapies for sufferers.

Absence epilepsy primarily affects children. These seizures differ from “clonic-tonic” seizures in that they don’t cause muscle spasms; rather, patients “zone out” or stare into space for a period of time, with no memory of the episode afterward. Around one-third of patients with absence epilepsy fail to respond to medication, demonstrating the complexity of the disease.


Stargazer mouse looks upward at transplanted GABAergic neuron (green) in its primary visual cortex. Art by Alice Harvey.

NC State neurobiology professor Troy Ghashghaei and colleagues looked at a genetic mouse model for absence epilepsy to determine what was happening in their brains during these seizures. They found that the seizures were accompanied by hyperactivity in the areas of the brain associated with vision and touch – areas referred to as primary visual and primary somatosensory cortices in the occipital and parietal lobes, respectively.

“There are neurons that excite brain activity, and neurons that inhibit activity,” Ghashghaei says. “The inhibitory neurons work by secreting an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. The ‘GABAergic’ interneurons were recently shown by others to be defective in the mice with absence seizures, and we surmised that these malfunctioning neurons might be part of the problem, especially in the visual and somatosensory cortical areas.”

Ghashghaei’s team took embryonic neural stem cells from a part of the developing brain that generates GABAergic interneurons for the cerebral cortex. They harvested these cells from normal mouse embryos and transplanted them into the occipital cortex of the genetic mice with absence seizures. Absence seizure activity in treated animals decreased dramatically, and the mice gained more weight and survived longer than untreated mice.

“This is a profound and remarkably effective first result, and adds to the recent body of evidence that these transplantation treatments can work in mouse models of epilepsy. But we still don’t understand the mechanisms behind what the normal inhibitory cells are doing in areas of the visual cortex of absence epileptic mice,” Ghashghaei says. “We know that you can get positive results even when a small number of transplanted neurons actually integrate into the cortex of affected mice, which is very interesting.  But we don’t know how the transplanted cells are connecting with other cells in the cortex and how they alleviate the absence seizures in the mouse model we employed.

“Our next steps will be to explore these questions.  In addition, we are very interested in methods being devised by multiple labs around the world to ‘reprogram’ cells from transplantation patients to generate normal GABAergic and other types of neurons. Once established, this would eliminate the need for embryonic stem cells for this type of treatment. The ultimate goal is to develop new therapies for humans suffering from various forms of epilepsies, especially those for whom drugs do not work.”

The research appears online in Cerebral Cortex. The research was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health. Ghashghaei is leader of the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research’s comparative neurobiology core in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Co-authors include post-doctoral fellow Mohamed Hammad (now at the University of Southern California), research associate Xuying Zhang, and veterinary student Ryan Bray who began this work through the Veterinary Scholars Program. Stephen Schmidt and Flavio Frohlich, electrophysiologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, made important contributions to the work.

-peake-

Note to editors: Abstract follows.

“Transplantation of GABAergic Interneurons into the Neonatal Primary Visual Cortex Reduces Absence Seizures in Stargazer Mice”

doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu094

Authors: Mohamed Hammad, Xuying Zhang, Ryan Bray, and H. Troy Ghashghaei, North Carolina State University; Stephen L. Schmidt, and Flavio Frohlich, UNC Chapel Hill
Published: Online in Cerebral Cortex

Abstract:
Epilepsies are debilitating neurological disorders characterized by repeated episodes of  pathological seizure activity. Absence epilepsy (AE) is a poorly understood type of seizure with an estimated 30% of affected patients failing to respond to antiepileptic drugs. Thus, novel therapies are needed for the treatment of AE. A promising cellbased therapeutic strategy is centered on transplantation of embryonic neural stem cells from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE), which give rise to gamma-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) interneurons during embyronic development. Here, we used the Stargazer (Stg) mouse model of AE to map affected loci using c-Fos immunohistochemistry, which revealed intense seizure-induce activity in visual and somatosensory cortices. We report that transplantation of MGE cells into the primary visual cortex (V1) of Stg mice significantly reduces AE episodes and lowers mortality. Electrophysiological analysis in acute cortical slices of visual cortex demonstrated that Stg V1 neurons exhibit more pronounced increases in activity in response to a potassium-mediated excitability challenge than wildtypes (WT). The defective network activity in V1 was significantly altered following WT MGE transplantation, associating it with behavioral rescue of seizures in Stgs. Taken together, these findings present MGE grafting in the V1 as a possible clinical approach in the treatment of AE.

Tracey Peake | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/ghashghaei-epilepsy/

Further reports about: Cortex Epilepsy Flavio Medicine Transplantation activity cortical drugs

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level

20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Relax, just break it

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>