July 15, 2022

Emory Neuroscientists Aim to Develop Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Epilepsy Patients

Article published by Emory News Center

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has awarded Emory neuroscientists a three-year, $2 million grant to develop new anti-inflammatory drugs for the prevention of comorbidities related to epilepsy.

Thota Ganesh, PhD, and Ray Dingledine, PhD, have been investigating the potential for EP2 antagonists, which inhibit signals from inflammatory prostaglandins, to prevent the development of comorbidities associated with epilepsy. Ganesh says EP2 antagonists act as a sort of “fire extinguisher,” interrupting the chain of events occurring in the brain in response to an initial injury by seizures.

“In animal models, we have shown EP2 receptor activation is responsible for blood-brain barrier leakage and much of the inflammatory reaction, neuronal injury and cognitive deficits that follow seizure-provoked induction of the enzyme cyclooxygenase 2,” Ganesh says.

The researchers will conduct further studies to identify EP2 antagonist candidate compounds for eventual study in human clinical trials. They hope to develop the first preventative treatment for cognitive deficits related to epilepsy through this research.