Epilepsy In Adolescence: New Study Shows Novel Inhibitory Brain Receptor Could Be Behind Remission

epilepsy adolescent
A mother plays with her daughter, who suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a debilitating form of epilepsy, at a park in Monterrey, Mexico, Sept. 1, 2015. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

A new study has shown that the emergence of a novel inhibitory brain receptor during adolescence may help reduce epileptic seizures after achieving success in research on mice.

Epilepsy is the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder during adolescence. While the onset may begin at this stage or previously existing epilepsy may continue to remit or deteriorate, more than half the children suffering from this condition outgrow the seizures. However, the cause behind the remission is unknown.

The chronic disorder is characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures, which can be of more than one type. The source of epilepsy is the human brain but the seizures may manifest in any part of the body. People suffering from the condition can have symptoms of other neurological problems as well.

In the report published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers found that α4βδ (alpha four beta delta) — the inhibitory brain receptor —reduced activity similar to seizures in a mouse model of epilepsy.

Sheryl Smith, professor of physiology and pharmacology at State University of New York Health Science Center, explained in a press release: “Seizure-like discharges were three to four-fold greater before puberty and in pubertal mice that lack expression of this receptor. Administration of drugs that selectively enhance inhibition mediated by this receptor further decreased seizure-like activity in this model.”

“These findings suggest a mechanism for remission of epilepsy in adolescence and also suggest potential new therapies for childhood epilepsy,” Smith concluded.

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