I discuss issues pertaining to the practice of neuropathology -- including nervous system tumors, neuroanatomy, neurodegenerative disease, muscle and nerve disorders, ophthalmologic pathology, neuro trivia, neuropathology gossip, job listings and anything else that might be of interest to a blue-collar neuropathologist.
How can trauma lead to chronic seizures? Berkeley researcher Daniela Kaufer found that only when albumin in the blood breaches the blood-brain barrier does the likelihood of post-traumatic epilepsy go up. Accelerated signaling between neurons results from this exposure, leaduing to seizures. “We were surprised, even a little disappointed, that it was such a
common component of the blood – nothing exotic at all – that led to
epilepsy,” recalls Kaufer, associate professor of integrative biology. She and colleagues went on to
Daniela Kaufer in the lab
show that albumin interacts with a ubiquitous cell protein TGF-Beta receptor to cause the damage. In the healthy brain, TGF-Beta signaling affects activity of astrocytes, which normally limit
neuron-to-neuron firing signals across the synapse. But when albumin
stimulates TGF-Beta receptors, astrocytes lose some of their control.
Neuron signaling then spike dangerously, and promote the development of
epileptic seizures. As luck would have it, statin drugs block
TGF-Beta signaling. Kaufer
is now carrying out research to confirm that blocking abnormal TGF-Beta
activity can prevent epilepsy from a range of insults. “Right now, if someone comes to the emergency room with traumatic brain
injury, they have a 10 to 50 percent chance of developing epilepsy. But
you don’t know which ones, nor do you have a way of preventing it. And
epilepsy from brain injuries is the type most unresponsive to drugs." says Kaufer. “I’m very hopeful and that our research can spare these patients the added trauma of epilepsy.”
(Thanks to Dr. Doug "Scout" Shevlin for alerting me to this potentially groundbreaking research.)
A commenter asked when the next edition (9th) of "Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease" will be coming out. According to Amazon, the release date is June 16, 2014. I'm not sure yet what differencesin the CNS, muscle and nerve, and eye portions of the book there will be as compared to the current edition.
The next in our "Best of the Month Series comes from a post that appeared on October 22, 2013. Since this posting, The New York Times has picked up on this topic. Perhaps they read it here first? In any case, it's a post worth re-posting:
A new study published in the journal Science on Thursday and reported in the Washington Post
suggests that a so-called "glymphatic system" seems capable of flushing
toxins (including perhaps beta-amyloid) from brain -- particularly during sleep.“Sleep puts the brain in another state where we clean out all the
byproducts of activity during the daytime,” said study author and University of Rochester neurosurgeon Maiken Nedergaard.
(Thanks to avid NP Blog reader and friend, Dr. Doug Shevlin, for alerting me to this significant new finding.)