Researchers find an important clue to potential treatments for absence seizures
News Aug 22, 2014
Absence seizures are believed to be elicited by T-type calcium channels in the thalamic reticular nucleus of the brain that regulate influxes of calcium. These channels enable thalamic reticular nucleus neurons to generate burst firing, leading the neurons to enter a hyper-excited state.
In order to identify the relationship between burst firing and absence seizures, the researchers conducted an experiment to induce absence seizures in mice using gene targeting techniques to delete the T-type calcium channel CaV3.3. The results showed that mice that received a complete genetic deletion of the T-type calcium channel, which in turn suppressed burst firing in the thalamic reticular nucleus, exhibited an increased frequency of absence seizures.
Moreover, the researchers observed for the first time ever that tonic firing also increased in such mice. The study was the first to discover that tonic firing plays a key role in the induction of absence seizure, which contradicts the existing hypothesis and carries significant implications for absence seizure treatment research.
The study is meaningful in respect to the fact that it calls into question the role of the T-type calcium channel in the reticular thalamus, and is expected to provide an important theoretical foundation for understanding its role in the mechanism of absence seizures, as well as developing effective treatment methods for absence epilepsy.
Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
S.E. Lee, J. Lee, C. Latchoumane, B. Lee, S.-J. Oh, Z.A. Saud, C. Park, N. Sun, E. Cheong, C.-C. Chen, E.-J. Choi, C.J. Lee, H.-S. Shin. Rebound burst firing in the reticular thalamus is not essential for pharmacological absence seizures in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published August 12 2014. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1408609111
All in a Droplet: Atomic Resolution of ALS Protein ResolvedNews
Researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone.READ MORE
Pupil Size Couples to Cortical States to Protect Deep Sleep StabilityNews
Researchers have found that mice pupil size fluctuates during sleep. They also show that pupil size is a reliable indicator of sleep states.READ MORE
A Place to Think: Persistent neuronal activity in human prefrontal cortex links perception and actionNews
Neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception.READ MORE