Research press release


Nature Neuroscience

Stem-ming the tide of epileptic seizures



Robert Hunt、Scott Barabanたちは、マウスを使い学習や記憶に不可欠な脳領域である海馬に抑制性介在ニューロンの前駆細胞を注入した場合、注入細胞は機能を持つ抑制性介在ニューロンになって、マウスの発作頻度を減少させうることを発見した。Huntらは、マウスが注入以前にすでに一度ならず発作を経験していてもこのことが成り立つと報告している。さらに加えて、このような注入によって、マウスがてんかん発作以降示していた行動面の不足も改善できることを示している。


Injecting progenitors of inhibitory neurons into the hippocampal region of adult epileptic mice can reduce the frequency of seizures and correct behavioral deficits, reports a paper published this week in Nature Neuroscience.

Epileptic seizures involve the synchronized firing of neurons in the brain, often resulting in symptoms such as periods of vigorous muscle contraction and/or loss of consciousness. One potential cause for epileptic seizures is the dysfunction of a population of neurons called inhibitory interneurons whose primary role is to limit the activity of other neuronal cells.

Robert Hunt, Scott Baraban and colleagues have found that if they inject the precursors of inhibitory interneurons into the hippocampus - a region of the brain which is necessary for learning and memory - of mice, the cells can become functional inhibitory interneurons and can decrease the frequency of seizures in these animals.The authors report that this is true even if the mice have already experienced one or more seizures prior to the injection. In addition, the authors show that these injections can improve the behavioral deficits that the mice exhibit after the onset of seizures.

While stem cell-based therapies have been postulated for the treatment of many diseases, including epilepsy, the current study provides valuable evidence to show that engrafting stem cells into the brain of mice can be efficacious even after the onset of symptoms and seizures. Future work is needed before a similar treatment will be ready for translation to the clinic, but this is an important first step in demonstrating the potential of the approach.

doi: 10.1038/nn.3392

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