Northwestern Medicine co-authored a study that identified a type of white blood cell that contributes to inflammation in the brain after status epilepticus (SE), a period of prolonged seizures or when seizures occur close together without recovery time.
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study suggests treatments that inhibit infiltration of the brain by monocytes may be a viable method for alleviating the affects of SE.
“Our work examines how elements of activation of the innate immune system and the inflammatory response are of importance in the development of epilepsy,” said Richard J. Miller, PhD, Alfred Newton Richards Professor of Pharmacology, who analyzed study data for the paper. “This is something that is receiving increased attention at present.”
While white blood cells or monocytes do not infiltrate the healthy central nervous system, they can enter the brain in response to injury and assist in immune responses. The scientists used mouse models to examine the cellular components of immune inflammation in the days following SE. When they blocked the entry of monocytes to the brain, it reduced damage to neurons and accelerated weight regain in mice.
Miller is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute.
This research was supported by the Emory University School of Medicine Flow Cytometry Core, Emory University Integrated Cellular Imaging Microscopy Core, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University Pediatric Flow Cytometry Core, Cyberonics, The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Roman Herzog Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Charitable Hertie Foundation, and National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Grants U01 NS05158, R21 NS074169, R01 NS097776 and P20 NS080185.