Modulation Of GABAergic Transmission And Absence Seizures By Optical Stimulation Of Astrocytes
Synaptic inhibition between neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (nRT) plays a critical role in childhood absence epilepsy. Dr. Christian’s recent work has demonstrated that astrocytes, a type of non-neuronal brain cell, play a necessary role in regulating inhibition in the nRT. This suggests the exciting prospect that modulation of astrocytic function, and thereby of synaptic inhibition, could become a powerful resource in treating seizure disorders. The proposed studies will focus on using newly developed methods to selectively stimulate astrocytes in the nRT using light, and assess the effects of this stimulation on both synaptic inhibition and absence seizures.