In Cell Reports, researchers from Purdue University unveiled a potentially new pathway for the treatment of seizures associated with autism spectrum disorder.
In the past, research suggested that genetic variants in the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.2 can lead to autism, in which overactive sodium channels in the neuron can result in epileptic seizures.
However, in the new research, they discovered that in Nav1.2 deficient neurons, the expressions of potassium channels are substantially reduced. Seizures occur when the potassium channels over-compensate for the sodium-channels’ deficiency by shutting down many potassium channels, resulting in neuron hyperexcitability, and subsequently, seizures, based on the findings.
“Our research points toward a direction for future research, maybe future treatments. We are peacetime warriors, fighting humanity’s biggest enemy: disease. There are kids dying because of these conditions,” according to a news release of the findings.
“Our goal is to help them, to help their parents and their families. This kind of basic research is a vital part of finding new drugs.”