Dendritic HCN Channels As A Target Against Epileptogenesis And For Improving Cognitive Deficits In Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
In addition to seizures, many patients with epilepsy struggle with memory and other cognitive deficits. Dr. Bernard has shown that temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with a loss of function of a specific protein in the brain called hyperpolarizing-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels (HCN). This loss not only makes the cell more excitable but also impairs cognitive function. In this study, Dr. Bernard’s goal is to determine whether the loss of HCN may actually cause epilepsy and/or cognitive dysfunction. By boosting HCN activity in animal models of epilepsy, using specific drugs or via genetic technology, this study may lead to new approaches to controlling seizures with the potential of also restoring cognitive function.