From Medical Xpress:
UT Southwestern researchers involved in a study that identified a potential mechanism to reduce epileptic seizures following traumatic brain injury included (l-r) Farrah Tafacory, Dr. Jenny Hsieh, Rebecca Brulet, Dr. Zane Lybrand, and Ling Zhang. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that halting production of new neurons in the brain following traumatic brain injury can help reduce resulting epileptic seizures, cognitive decline, and impaired memory.
Injury to the brain stimulates the production of new neurons, but these new cells are sometimes hyperexcitable, disrupting neural circuits and causing recurring seizures, researchers with UT Southwestern’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair reported in Nature Communications.
Effectively stopping the process in genetically modified mice resulted in fewer seizures. In addition, eliminating the development of new neurons – a process called neurogenesis ? appeared to reduce cognitive decline and impairment of memory, common effects of seizures.
“Understanding the mechanisms that promote aberrant neurogenesis caused by traumatic brain injury and subsequent seizures may open new therapeutic avenues to prevent epilepsy and associated memory problems caused by impact,” said senior author Dr. Jenny Hsieh, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and a member of the UT Southwestern Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine.
Halting development of new neurons resulted in a roughly 40 percent reduction in seizure frequency in the mice, but did not alter the duration of individual seizures. However, the researchers found that stopping neurogenesis before the development of seizures had a long-lasting effect, suppressing…