Identification of new epilepsy treatments: issues in preclinical methodology.
ABSTRACT Preclinical research has facilitated the discovery of valuable drugs for the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy. Yet, despite these therapies, seizures are not adequately controlled in a third of all affected individuals, and comorbidities still impose a major burden on quality of life. The introduction of multiple new therapies into clinical use over the past two decades has done little to change this. There is an urgent demand to address the unmet clinical needs for: (1) new symptomatic antiseizure treatments for drug-resistant seizures with improved efficacy/tolerability profiles, (2) disease-modifying treatments that prevent or ameliorate the process of epileptogenesis, and (3) treatments for the common comorbidities that contribute to disability in people with epilepsy. New therapies also need to address the special needs of certain subpopulations, that is, age- or gender-specific treatments. Preclinical development in these treatment areas is complex due to heterogeneity in presentation and etiology, and may need to be formulated with a specific seizure, epilepsy syndrome, or comorbidity in mind. The aim of this report is to provide a framework that will help define future guidelines that improve and standardize the design, reporting, and validation of data across preclinical antiepilepsy therapy development studies targeting drug-resistant seizures, epileptogenesis, and comorbidities.
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ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is, of course, not one disease but rather a huge number of disorders that can present with seizures. In common, they all reflect brain dysfunction. Moreover, they can affect the mind and, of course, behavior. While animals too may suffer from epilepsy, as far as we know, the electrical discharges are less likely to affect the mind and behavior, which is not surprising. While the epileptic seizures themselves are episodic, the mental and behavioral changes continue, in many cases, interictally. The episodic mental and behavioral manifestations are more dramatic, while the interictal ones are easier to study with anatomical and functional studies. The following extended summaries complement those presented in Part 1.Epilepsy & Behavior 06/2013; 28(2). DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2013.03.012 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Synaptic transmission is the communication between a presynaptic and a postsynaptic neuron, and the subsequent processing of the signal. These processes are complex and highly regulated, reflecting their importance in normal brain functioning and homeostasis. Sustaining synaptic transmission depends on the continuing cycle of synaptic vesicle formation, release, and endocytosis, which requires proteins such as dynamin, syndapin, synapsin, and synaptic vesicle protein 2A. Synaptic transmission is regulated by diverse mechanisms, including presynaptic modulators of synaptic vesicle formation and release, postsynaptic receptors and signaling, and modulators of neurotransmission. Neurotransmitters released presynaptically can bind to their postsynaptic receptors, the inhibitory γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic receptors or the excitatory glutamate receptors. Once released, glutamate activates a variety of postsynaptic receptors including α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA), N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), kainate, and metabotropic receptors. The activation of the receptors triggers downstream signaling cascades generating a vast array of effects, which can be modulated by a numerous auxiliary regulatory subunits. Moreover, different neuropeptides such as neuropeptide Y, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), somatostatin, ghrelin, and galanin, act as regulators of diverse synaptic functions and along with the classic neurotransmitters. Abnormalities in the regulation of synaptic transmission play a critical role in the pathogenesis of numerous brain diseases, including epilepsy. This review focuses on the different mechanisms involved in the regulation of synaptic transmission, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of epilepsy: the presynaptic modulators of synaptic vesicle formation and release, postsynaptic receptors, and modulators of neurotransmission, including the mechanism by which drugs can modulate the frequency and severity of epileptic seizures.Epilepsia 12/2012; 53(s9). DOI:10.1111/epi.12034 · 4.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The medium chain triglyceride (MCT) ketogenic diet is used extensively for treating refractory childhood epilepsy. This diet increases the plasma levels of medium straight chain fatty acids. A role for these and related fatty acids in seizure control has not been established. We compared the potency of an established epilepsy treatment, Valproate (VPA), with a range of MCT diet-associated fatty acids (and related branched compounds), using in vitro seizure and in vivo epilepsy models, and assessed side effect potential in vitro for one aspect of teratogenicity, for liver toxicology and in vivo for sedation, and for a neuroprotective effect. We identify specific medium chain fatty acids (both prescribed in the MCT diet, and related compounds branched on the fourth carbon) provide significantly enhanced in vitro seizure control compared to VPA. The activity of these compounds on seizure control is independent of histone deacetylase inhibitory activity (associated with the teratogenicity of VPA), and does not correlate with liver cell toxicity. In vivo, these compounds were more potent in epilepsy control (perforant pathway stimulation induced status epilepticus), showed less sedation and enhanced neuroprotection compared to VPA. Our data therefore implicates medium chain fatty acids in the mechanism of the MCT ketogenic diet, and highlights a related new family of compounds that are more potent than VPA in seizure control with a reduced potential for side effects.Neuropharmacology 11/2012; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.11.004 · 4.82 Impact Factor