[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 5-May-2013
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Contact: Christopher Thomas
nindspressteam@ninds.nih.gov
301-496-5751
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Media advisory: Brain cell injections may quiet epileptic seizures

NIH-supported study suggests cell therapy may be a viable approach

More than two million people in the United States suffer from epilepsies, a group of neurological disorders caused by abnormal nerve cell firing in the brain which often produce debilitating seizures. Although anti-epileptic drugs and other therapies reduce seizures in about two-thirds of patients, the remaining one-third do not respond to any form of therapy and those who take drugs can experience harmful side effects. NIH funded researchers at the University of California at San Francisco used a mouse model of epilepsy to show that transplanting new born inhibitory nerve cells can quiet seizures. Inhibitory cells are one of two major nerve cell groups, the other being excitatory. Their results, published in Nature Neuroscience, show that injecting new inhibitory cells into the hippocampus in the brains of adult epileptic mice greatly reduced the occurrence of seizures and reversed some learning and memory problems associated with the disorder. Analysis of the mice brains suggested the new cells became fully incorporated into the brain regions where they were injected. The results support the idea that cell therapies may provide precise and novel ways to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

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This study was supported by grants from NINDS (NS071785, NS077747) and a grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (#TR2-01749).

References:

Hunt et al. "GABA progenitor grafted into the adult epileptic brain control seizures and abnormal behavior" Nature Neuroscience, May 5, 2013. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3392

For more information about Epilepsy, please visit:

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/epilepsy

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/epilepsyweb/

NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.



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