Epilepsy causes brain's defenses to collapse

23 August 2019
What happens during an epileptic seizure? A recent study from the group of VIB alumnus Emre Yaksi (currently NTNU , Norway), which started during the team’s time at VIB, suggests that seizures occur after certain defense cells in the brain break down. The results are published in Nature Communications.

In recent decades, several new epilepsy drugs have been developed. Still, a third of patients  lacks  control over their seizures. One reason for this may be that the current anti-epileptic drugs mostly target the neurons, while the glial cells, which constitute ~80% of the cells in the brain, have been overlooked.

"Our results provide direct evidence that the interactions between glial cells and neurons change during the transition from a pre-seizure state to a generalised seizure. It will be interesting to see if this phenomenon is generalisable across different types of epilepsies," says Professor Emre Yaksi.