Taking Flight Award

Role Of Central 5-HT Transmission In Respiratory Arrest Induced By Seizures

Huajun Feng, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Seizure-induced suppression of breathing (apnea) causes sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Post-seizure apnea in an animal model of SUDEP is reduced after injection of a drug that enhances the level of a nerve cell signaling molecule called serotonin (5-HT), suggesting that defective 5-HT signaling may contribute to SUDEP. However, there is no current information about where in the brain 5-HT supposedly acts to sustain breathing after seizures. The goal of this project is to use state-of-the-art neuroscience methods to explore which brain structure(s) are involved in seizure-evoked apnea and the role of several 5-HT receptors in this phenomenon. If successful, our findings may lead to new treatments that prolong the lives of epileptic patients.


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