When an epileptic seizure occurs in the brain, the nerve cells lose their usual pattern and fire in a very fast rhythm. The cause is a complex interplay of various factors. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now discovered the important role of one of the participants: alpha2delta4. It is a central player between the nerve cells, a puzzle piece that plays a decisive role in the development of epilepsies and is a possible starting point for therapies. The results now appear in The Journal of Neuroscience.
During an epileptic seizure, the nerve cells fire simultaneously in a very fast rhythm – like a thunderstorm in the brain. This results in seizures. Due to changes in the brain, such a short seizure can develop into chronic epilepsy in the long term. “The search for new therapies is above all about preventing the gradual development of such severe types of seizures,” says Prof. Dr. Albert J. Becker from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB).