The Role of Extracellular Matrix Injury in Post-Traumatic Epilepsy
Currently, there is little understanding of why 20% of significant civilian closed head injuries result in post-traumatic epilepsy, nor is there an understanding of why this epilepsy is so often resistant to treatment with currently available options. It is known that traumatic brain injury can initiate changes in glial cells – a type of cell that provides essential support and insulation to neurons in the brain, a process that is also associated with post-traumatic epilepsy.
Dr. Kevin Staley and his team hypothesize that the changes in the brain’s neuronal support system that occur after traumatic brain injury can alter the balance between inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission, and contribute to the development of difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Using highly-innovative techniques, the team aims to obtain evidence for this hypothesis by studying traumatic brain injury in a large-animal model of brain trauma as well as utilizing biospecimens with traumatic brain injury. These experiments will provide new insights into the development of post-traumatic epilepsy, and evaluate ways to identify patients that are at highest risk for the development of this disorder.