Scientists at the University of Bonn have unearthed the root cause for the development of temporal lobe epilepsy! At an early stage, astrocytes are uncoupled from each other, this results in the extracellular accumulation of potassium ions and neurotransmitters, which cause hyper-excitability of the neurons. Astrocytes are connected by gap junction channels composed mainly of the gap junction protein (connexin 43 and connexin 30). In this study, researchers combined patch-clamp recordings with various immunotechniques to decipher of the role of impaired gap junctions channels in the etiology of epilepsy. So, the restoration of the astrocyte dysfunction could be a novel strategy for anti-epileptogenic therapeutic intervention.
Bedner P, Dupper A, Hüttmann K, Müller J, Herde MK, Dublin P, Deshpande T, Schramm J, Häussler U, Haas CA, Henneberger C, Theis M, & Steinhäuser C (2015). Astrocyte uncoupling as a cause of human temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain : a journal of neurology, 138 (Pt 5), 1208-22 PMID: 25765328