Novel compounds arrested epilepsy development in mice

July 22, 2016

New Orleans, LA - A team led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of LSU Health New Orleans' Neuroscience Center of Excellence, has developed neuroprotective compounds that may prevent the development of epilepsy. The findings will be published online in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal, on July 22, 2016.

In this study in an experimental model of epilepsy in mice, the compounds prevented seizures and their damaging effects on dendritic spines, specialized structures that allow brain cells to communicate. In epilepsy, these structures are damaged and rewire incorrectly, creating brain circuits that are hyper-connected and prone to seizures, an important example of pathological plasticity.

"In the current study, preservation of dendritic spines and subsequent protection from seizures, were observed up to 100 days post-treatment, suggesting the process of epilepsy development has been arrested," notes Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

Dr. Bazan and Professor Julio Alvarez-Builla Gomez, a medicinal chemist from the University of Alcala in Spain, discovered and patented the LAU compounds, named for the inventors in Louisiana and the Spanish university. A number of LAU compounds were studied in this research, which blocked a neuroinflammatory signaling receptor, protecting dendritic spines and lessening seizure susceptibility and onset, as well as hyper-excitability.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the epilepsies are a spectrum of brain disorders ranging from severe, life-threatening and disabling, to ones that are much more benign. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. It is not uncommon for people with epilepsy, especially children, to develop behavioral and emotional problems in conjunction with seizures. Issues may also arise as a result of the stigma attached to having epilepsy, which can lead to embarrassment and frustration or bullying, teasing, or avoidance in school and other social settings. For many people with epilepsy, the risk of seizures restricts their independence (some states refuse drivers licenses to people with epilepsy) and recreational activities. Epilepsy can be a life-threatening condition. Some people with epilepsy are at special risk for abnormally prolonged seizures or sudden unexplained death in epilepsy. There is currently no cure.

The research team also included Drs. Alberto Muso, Surijyadipta Bhattacharjee, Ludmila Belayev and William Gordon from LSU Health New Orleans' Neuroscience Center of Excellence, Robert Rosencrans, Chelsey Walker, as well as and Chittalsinh M. Raulji, from LSU Health New Orleans' Department of Pediatrics Section of Hematology-Oncology, along with Zhide Fang, from the Biostatistics Program at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.

The research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. "Future clinical studies would evaluate the potential application of the compounds that we have developed and/or the mechanisms that we have discovered that are targeted by these compounds in the development of epilepsy," concludes Dr. Bazan. "Most of the anti-epileptic drugs currently available treat the symptom - seizures- not the disease itself. Understanding the potential therapeutic usefulness of compounds that may interrupt the development process may pave the way for disease-modifying treatments for patients at risk for epilepsy."

The research is part of an ongoing effort in Dr. Bazan laboratory to understand the critical role of brain plasticity which underlies many aspects of health and disease, from developmental disorders like dyslexia to aging, retinal degeneration, neurotrauma (concussions, TBI), stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
-end-
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's most comprehensive health sciences university,, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO or http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Related Epilepsy Articles from Brightsurf:

Focal epilepsy often overlooked
Having subtler symptoms, a form of epilepsy that affects only one part of the brain often goes undiagnosed long enough to cause unexpected seizures that contribute to car crashes, a new study finds.

Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions.

Breaching the brain's defense causes epilepsy
Epileptic seizures can happen to anyone. But how do they occur and what initiates such a rapid response?

Using connectomics to understand epilepsy
Abnormalities in structural brain networks and how brain regions communicate may underlie a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, which is one focus of a two-part Special Issue on the Brain Connectome in Brain Connectivity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Epilepsy: Triangular relationship in the brain
When an epileptic seizure occurs in the brain, the nerve cells lose their usual pattern and fire in a very fast rhythm.

How concussions may lead to epilepsy
Researchers have identified a cellular response to repeated concussions that may contribute to seizures in mice like those observed following traumatic brain injury in humans.

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors
A KAIST research team led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering has recently identified a neuronal BRAF somatic mutation that causes intrinsic epileptogenicity in pediatric brain tumors.

Can medical marijuana help treat intractable epilepsy?
A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review examines the potential of medicinal cannabis -- or medical marijuana -- for helping patients with intractable epilepsy, in which seizures fail to come under control with standard anticonvulsant treatment.

Fertility rates no different for women with epilepsy
'Myth-busting' study among women with no history of infertility finds that those with epilepsy are just as likely to become pregnant as those without.

Do women with epilepsy have similar likelihood of pregnancy?
Women with epilepsy without a history of infertility or related disorders who wanted to become pregnant were about as likely as their peers without epilepsy to become pregnant.

Read More: Epilepsy News and Epilepsy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.