Taking Flight Award

Loss Of The Perineuronal Net Component Of The Extracellular Matrix After Status Epilepticus

Paulette McRae, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common type of focal epilepsy and individuals who suffer from TLE can have impaired cognitive abilities that impact their ability to live a normal, productive life. The goal of Dr. McRae’s project is to understand how changes in the environment surrounding cells in the hippocampus contribute to learning and memory problems in individuals with TLE. The perineuronal net (PN) is a component of the extracellular environment that sheathes a subset of cells in the hippocampus. Preliminary work found that the PN is destroyed following an acute seizure. An enzyme will be used to breakdown the PN in the hippocampus, mimicking the PN loss observed after a seizure, in order to study changes in the extracellular environment that contribute to the destruction of the PN and the development of epilepsy. Dr. McRae will explore how these changes contribute to cognitive dysfunction associated with TLE.


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