A new study from researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, has found that cellular reprogramming can help to reduce epileptic seizures in mice.
The study, published in Cell Stem Cell, demonstrates that by reprogramming brain-resident glial cells into what’s known as ‘interneurons’ (i.e. inhibitory neurons that help keep the neural network excitation at bay), chronic seizure activity in the brain can be dampened in a pre-clinical mouse model of epilepsy. The investigators now hope that this offers a potential cell-based means of combatting seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy.
The research focussed specifically on mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), the most common form of ‘focal epilepsy’ that is characterized by spontaneous recurrent seizures. Unfortunately, it is also among the most treatment resistant forms of the illness, with anti-seizure medication and resective surgery both proving ineffective for many patients in the long term.