How do Ion Channels Cause Epilepsy?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the February 14, 2014, issue of the journal Neurology, Drs. Child and Benarroch present a comprehensive and logical summary of voltage-gated ion channels and how this has implications for the future treatment of epilepsy.

  • There is considerable research in both genetics and basic science with regards to how neurons, or brain cells, generate electrical activity.
  • Since most anti-seizure drugs and devices function on the concept of trying to adjust or control abnormal electrical activity, understanding how these voltage-gated ion channels work in neurons is essential for the treatment of epilepsy.
  • With the recent advances in genetic findings, most of which pertain to mutations in ion channels in human neurons, Drs. Child and Benarroch provide a comprehensive yet understandable review of the various ion channel findings in human neurons and how this has implications for the future development of new medications.
  • There is ample experimental evidence that neurons and their network’s behavior is shaped by the interactions of a wide variety of ion channels expressed in specific neuronal groups.
  • Understanding these basic molecular mechanisms by which the so-called abnormalities in these ions, otherwise known as channelopathies, result in epilepsy will continue to provide the rationale and underpinning for the development of drugs that specifically affect specific ion channels to better control this condition.
Authored by: Joseph I. Sirven MD on 4/2014

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