Manipulating a certain protein ‘can help prevent Dravet syndrome’

Posted Aug 27 2014 in Brain science; genetics

Manipulating bodily levels of a certain protein has been found to be a potentially effective way of combating Dravet syndrome, a serious form of epilepsy.

Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco looked at a mouse model of the severe childhood epilepsy – which is caused by genetic mutations – to see whether reducing levels of the microtubule-associated protein tau can help to reduce disease activity levels.

According to results published in the Annals of Neurology, tau ablation prevented the high mortality of mice affected by Dravet syndrome, while reducing the frequency of spontaneous and febrile seizures.

Moreover, tau reduction also helped to prevent biochemical changes in the hippocampus indicative of epileptic activity, ameliorate abnormalities in learning and memory, and generally help to correct behavioural deficiencies.

The researchers concluded: “Tau reduction may be of therapeutic benefit in Dravet syndrome and other intractable genetic epilepsies.”

Dravet syndrome only affects one in every 500 children with epilepsy, but it can be one of the most impactful and dangerous forms of the condition.

Posted by Bob Jones

Publication abstract:

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