Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New cause of epilepsy revealed: Deficiencies in hyaluronan

Date:
May 1, 2014
Source:
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Summary:
The first evidence that hyaluronic acid plays a role in epileptic seizures has been revealed, providing a potential new approach for treatments. While epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders—affecting approximately 1 percent of the population worldwide—it is one of the least understood. It is characterized by recurrent spontaneous seizures caused by the abnormal firing of neurons. Although epilepsy treatment is available and effective for about 70 percent of cases, a substantial number of patients could benefit from a new therapeutic approach.

A team of researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and SUNY Downstate Medical Center (SUNY Downstate) has found that deficiencies in hyaluronan, also known as hyaluronic acid or HA, can lead to spontaneous epileptic seizures. HA is a polysaccharide molecule widely distributed throughout connective, epithelial, and neural tissues, including the brain’s extracellular space (ECS). Their findings, published on April 30 in The Journal of Neuroscience, equip scientists with key information that may lead to new therapeutic approaches to epilepsy.

Related Articles


The multicenter study used mice to provide the first evidence of a physiological role for HA in the maintenance of brain ECS volume. It also suggests a potential role in human epilepsy for HA and genes that are involved in hyaluraonan synthesis and degradation.

While epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders—affecting approximately 1 percent of the population worldwide—it is one of the least understood. It is characterized by recurrent spontaneous seizures caused by the abnormal firing of neurons. Although epilepsy treatment is available and effective for about 70 percent of cases, a substantial number of patients could benefit from a new therapeutic approach.

"Hyaluronan is widely known as a key structural component of cartilage and important for maintaining healthy cartilage. Curiously, it has been recognized that the adult brain also contains a lot of hyaluronan, but little is known about what hyaluronan does in the brain,” said Yu Yamaguchi, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Human Genetics Program at Sanford-Burnham.

“This is the first study that demonstrates the important role of this unique molecule for normal functioning of the brain, and that its deficiency may be a cause of epileptic disorders. A better understanding of how hyaluronan regulates brain function could lead to new treatment approaches for epilepsy,” Yamaguchi added.

The extracellular matrix of the brain has a unique molecular composition. Earlier studies focused on the role of matrix molecules in cell adhesion and axon pathfinding during neural development. In recent years, increasing attention has been focused on the roles of these molecules in the regulation of physiological functions in the adult brain.

In this study, the investigators examined the role of HA using mutant mice deficient in each of the three hyaluronan synthase genes (Has1, Has2, Has3).

“We showed that Has-mutant mice develop spontaneous epileptic seizures, indicating that HA is functionally involved in the regulation of neuronal excitability. Our study revealed that deficiency of HA results in a reduction in the volume of the brain’s ECS, leading to spontaneous epileptiform activity in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons,” said Sabina Hrabetova, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Cell Biology at SUNY Downstate.

“We believe that this study not only addresses one of the longstanding questions concerning the in-vivo role of matrix molecules in the brain, but also has broad appeal to epilepsy research in general,” said Katherine Perkins, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate.

“More specifically, it should stimulate researchers in the epilepsy field because our study reveals a novel, non-synaptic mechanism of epileptogenesis. The fact that our research can lead to new anti-epileptic therapies based on the preservation of hyaluronan adds further significance for the broader biomedical community and the public,” the authors added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. The original article was written by Susan Gammon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. M. Arranz, K. L. Perkins, F. Irie, D. P. Lewis, J. Hrabe, F. Xiao, N. Itano, K. Kimata, S. Hrabetova, Y. Yamaguchi. Hyaluronan Deficiency Due to Has3 Knock-Out Causes Altered Neuronal Activity and Seizures via Reduction in Brain Extracellular Space. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (18): 6164 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3458-13.2014

Cite This Page:

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "New cause of epilepsy revealed: Deficiencies in hyaluronan." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101014.htm>.
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. (2014, May 1). New cause of epilepsy revealed: Deficiencies in hyaluronan. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101014.htm
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "New cause of epilepsy revealed: Deficiencies in hyaluronan." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101014.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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