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A direct cause of epilepsy

The activation of immune cells in the brain is directly linked to the development of seizures in epilepsy, a recent US study in fruit flies has shown.

A team at the University of Iowa and the University of Alabama, carried out a series of experiments that first identified the genes associated with seizures in fruit flies.

These genes were then categorised into those involved in the immune response, or in reducing oxidative stress - a harmful process in the body that results from the build-up of unstable atoms that can damage cells.

By turning off the immune response and activating a gene in the brain that tackles oxidative stress, the researchers found that they could stop seizures in the flies.

Professor John Manak, at Iowa, said: “We now have the perfect model with our flies to screen through a significant number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. We can then elevate any promising drugs to mouse models, and then potentially human trials.”



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