Gene Shutoff Prevents Epilepsy in Mice

Could be useful target for drugs, study says

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THURSDAY, July 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Switching off a specific gene prevents epilepsy in mice, says a study in the July 8 issue of Neuron.

Scientists from Duke University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found they were able to prevent epilepsy in mice by switching off the TrkB gene. This means the TrkB gene could prove a useful target for the development of new drugs to prevent development of epilepsy.

These kinds of drugs could be an improvement over current medications that reduce seizures in people who already have epilepsy but don't prevent development of the disorder.

While this study shows that TrkB may be an important target for drugs to prevent epilepsy, the researchers say there may be other potential targets that contribute to the development of epilepsy.

More information

The Epilepsy Foundation has more about epilepsy.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, July 8, 2004

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