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2018

Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative

Identifying Proteomic, Metabolomic and MicroRNA Signatures for Spontaneous Seizures in a Rat Model of Penetrating Ballistic-Like Brain Injury

Kevin Wang, PhD
University of Florida
 

To date, there is a lack of thorough knowledge of post-traumatic epilepsy, a disorder that develops spontaneously in the days, months or even years following an initial traumatic brain injury. One issue that has delayed understanding of the mechanisms behind post-traumatic epilepsy is that few studies have been able recreate in an animal model the development of spontaneous seizures following a traumatic brain injury.

In humans, penetrating brain injuries are a type of traumatic brain injury that lead to a high risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy. Penetrating brain injuries are open head injuries that can be caused by high-speed projectiles such as those that might be experienced by individuals serving in the Armed Services. Such an injury might also be caused by motor vehicle accident, sports-related injury or violent wound to the head.

To understand the ways in which penetrating brain injuries can lead to post-traumatic epilepsy, Dr. Kevin Wang and his team have developed a robust rat model of penetrating traumatic brain injury. Importantly, this animal model is characterized by the development of spontaneous seizures, allowing the team to study the development of post-traumatic epilepsy. The team will study changes that occur in brain activity and chemical and molecular processes within important epilepsy-related areas of the brain, comparing animals that develop post-traumatic epilepsy to those that do not. In this way, the team aims to uncover the unique processes that lead to post-traumatic epilepsy following a penetrating traumatic brain injury, providing new areas upon which to focus the development of treatments for the disorder.

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