2011

Challenge Awards

Acquired Interneuronopathy In A Mouse Model Of Infantile Spasms

Sacha D. Nelson, MD, PhD
Brandeis University
 

Infantile spasms (IS) is a devastating form of childhood epilepsy, which is difficult to treat and often has a poor prognosis. In order to better understand the underlying mechanism(s) that cause IS, two paradoxically opposite animal models have been proposed. In one model, inhibitory interneurons fail to integrate properly into the cortex, leading to too much excitation and too little inhibition. In the other model, blocking excitation with a toxin for several days leads to epilepsy when the toxin wears off. Dr. Nelson will explore the hypothesis that blocking normal activity causes a secondary change in interneurons, impairing cortical inhibition. Studies of biochemical changes within these interneurons may provide new targets for pharmacological treatments to prevent or treat IS and related childhood disorders.

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