MONDAY, 14 MARCH 2011
The team at Brown showed that after an initial seizure tadpoles were much less likely to have further episodes when exposed to seizure-inducing stimuli. However, when putrescine production was inhibited this protection was lost; when the polyamine level was increased, the tadpoles had even fewer seizures than normal. Further research showed that the protection effect occurred after putrescine was metabolised into GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms activity in the brain .
The researchers suggest that putrescine may be an effective new drug target for epilepsy treatment. Although their work also adds to our understanding of normal regulation of brain activity, they caution that much more research is needed before this new knowledge will be of direct benefit to human cases .
Written by Jonathan Lawson