Development Of A Mouse Model For SUDEP

Geoffrey Pitt, MD, PhD
Duke University

Causes for SUDEP are unknown. Although heart arrhythmias are suspected, this has not been definitively demonstrated. Progress on determining causes, and thereby developing means to identify at-risk patients or preventing occurrence, has been impeded by the lack of animal models. We propose a novel hypothesis that mutations in broadly expressed ion channel modulators could affect brain channels (causing seizures) and also alter cardiac channels, thereby increasing susceptibility to life-threatening arrhythmias. We propose to test this hypothesis with new animal models, leading to the rational discovery of SUDEP candidate genes and development of diagnostic tools for identifying susceptible individuals.

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