Brain seizures can occur if perineuronal nets are dissolved
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have determined that perineuronal nets modulate electrical impulses in the brain. What’s more, brain seizures can occur if the nets are dissolved.
These findings have implications for some types of acquired epilepsy caused through trauma, tumours or infection of the brain.
And further, if the team’s hypotheses are correct, the findings could lead to the discovery of potential pharmacological solutions for some forms of epilepsy.
Their findings were originally observed in a terminal brain cancer – glioblastoma. The team, under the leadership of Professor Harald Sontheimer found that without the perineuronal nets, neurons involved in inhibiting electrical impulses in the brain would fire too slowly thus limiting their ability to inhibit the activity and thereby causing a seizure to occur.
As Professor Sontheimer says: “No-one thought that these structures would have such a profound effect on how normal processes operate”.
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