Mathematical Biology Seminar

Karen Wilcox
Department of Pharmacology And Toxicology, University of Utah

Altered Structure and Function of Astrocytes In Epilepsy

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at 3:05pm
LCB 219

Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a devastating seizure disorder that is often caused by status epilepticus (SE). TLE can be very difficult to control with currently available anti-seizure drugs and there are currently no disease modifying therapies that can prevent the development of TLE in those patients who are at risk. While the functional changes that occur in neurons following SE and leading up to TLE have been well studied, only recently has attention turned to the role in epileptogenesis of astrocytes, the other major cell type of the brain. Given that epilepsy is a neural circuit disorder, innovative ways to evaluate the contributions that both neurons and astrocytes make to aberrant circuit activity will be critical for the understanding of the emergent network properties that result in seizures. Recently described approaches using genetically encoded calcium indicating proteins can be used to image dynamic calcium transients, a marker of activity in both neurons and glial cells. It is anticipated that this work will lead to novel insights into the process of epileptogenesis at the network level and may identify disease-modifying therapeutic targets that have been missed due to a largely neurocentric view of seizure generation following SE.