Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anti-dandruff Compound May Help Fight Epilepsy

Date:
April 28, 2007
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that the same ingredient used in dandruff shampoos to fight the burning, itching and flaking on your head also can calm overexcited nerve cells inside your head, making it a potential treatment for seizures.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that the same ingredient used in dandruff shampoos to fight the burning, itching and flaking on your head also can calm overexcited nerve cells inside your head, making it a potential treatment for seizures.

Epilepsy and other seizure disorders result when nerves excessively or inappropriately "fire" in the brain. The brain's "off" switches fail in part due to protein defects that prevent potassium from exiting nerve cells and calming them. "Channels that carry potassium," says Min Li, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, "must open on cue to make sure nerve cells only fire for defined periods of time."

In their studies of these channels, Li and his colleagues developed a new way of testing thousands of druglike molecules to find any that could turn the potassium switch on or off. Their approach involved chemically shaving off all the potassium channels on the cell surface and forcing the cells to make new channels. By measuring the activity of the new channels, the researchers could identify molecules that accelerated the recovery.

One chemical that proved quite effective in improving channel recovery was zinc pyrithione (ZnPy), the active ingredient in many dandruff shampoos. Li explains that ZnPy has a shape that allows it to fit into the gate region of the channel protein and allow more potassium flow. "If you think of these channels as doors on the cell's surface," Li says, "then ZnPy made this door both easier to open and stay open longer. It's like a tunable hinge that helps sticky doors swing freely."

The researchers then tested defective channels that contain the same mutations known in humans to cause mild epilepsy-like seizures in infants. Bathing cells with small amounts of ZnPy caused the mutant potassium channels to let three times as much potassium flow through, raising the possibility of restoring normal nerve cell activity.

"Most drug discoveries uncover chemicals that stop things from working - it's a lot easier to close or block a door than open it," Li says. "But here we found a chemical that makes a defective protein work better. So now we have a chance to actually try to fix the causes of epilepsy, rather than traditionally circumventing them. Plus, this study really shows that we don't fully appreciate the biological roles of many familiar chemicals that surround us."

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Authors on the paper are Qiaojie Xiong, Haiyan Sun and Min Li, all of Johns Hopkins. Journal reference: Nature Chemical Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Anti-dandruff Compound May Help Fight Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070427120216.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2007, April 28). Anti-dandruff Compound May Help Fight Epilepsy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070427120216.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Anti-dandruff Compound May Help Fight Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070427120216.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins