Post-Traumatic Epilepsy Initiative

Neuropathological Mechanisms of Epileptogenesis in Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

Victoria E. Johnson, MBChB, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Post-traumatic epilepsy represents a frequent and debilitating complication of traumatic brain injury that can occur in the weeks, years or in some cases decades post-injury. Post-traumatic epilepsy represents an estimated 5% of all epilepsies in the community.

Currently, there is little known about the ways in which traumatic brain injury can lead to the development of post-traumatic epilepsy. Preliminary data from the Johnson laboratory suggests that several detrimental changes occur following traumatic brain injury, including chronic leakage of the blood brain barrier (a barrier that blocks certain substances from passing into the brain from the rest of the body), neuronal degeneration (the deterioration of neurons) and gliosis (changes in important neuronal support cells in response to central nervous system damage). However, the ways in which these changes might lead to post-traumatic epilepsy are not known. To address this question, Dr. Victoria Johnson and her team will characterize the relationship between these changes and the development of post-traumatic epilepsy, utilizing tissue from humans with traumatic brain injury as well as multiple unique models of traumatic brain injury.


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