Reducing seizures by removing newborn neurons

Reducing seizures by removing newborn neurons

Removing new neurons born after a brain injury reduces seizures in mice, according to new research in JNeurosci. This approach could potentially help prevent post-injury epilepsy.

New neurons generated following a brain injury often do not develop normally. Left untreated, these cells may contribute to the development of epilepsy.

Researchers continually removed new neurons that formed during the eight weeks following a seizure in mice. The team monitored seizure activity in the mice and observed that the treated mice experienced a 65 percent reduction in seizures compared to the untreated mice. This effect required more than four weeks of continuous treatment.

Authors also found that blocking post-seizure neurogenesis does not lead to long-term seizure reduction as the effect was observed only transiently for 10 days with more than 4 weeks of continuous and concurrent ablation of seizure-induced neurogenesis. 

Although these findings support a role for newborn neurons in epilepsy development, they also suggest additional factors are involved. Further research may bring us closer to complete prevention of injury-induced epilepsy.