Protein increases number of inhibitory synapses in the brain and reduces seizures

Researchers at Brandeis University have used a protein called Semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) to increase the number of inhibitory synapses in the brain and by so doing have dampened down the hyperexcitability of neurons responsible for epileptic seizures. Using an animal model, this has effectively reduced the severity of the seizures experienced. “Our idea is simple and has high impact potential,” Suzanne Paradis, Associate Professor of Biology at the university said.

Most synapses in the brain are either excitatory (favouring the transmission of electrical signals) or inhibitory (suppressing the transmission).  In epilepsy the balance between the two is changed and the neurons become over-excited leading to seizures.  Paradis says of the research “On command, we instruct neurons to assemble more inhibitory synapses in the brain, thus suppressing seizures. This approach could also be beneficial in preventing the establishment of epilepsy, halting its progression or suppressing hyperexcitability during a seizure event.”  The hope is that these findings can be replicated in the human brain.  To read more about this research, please use the link here:

 

News categories