January 4, 2022

Neuroregenerative Gene Therapy Treats Temporal Lobe Epilepsy in Rat Model

Article, news provided by NeuExcell Therapeutics

A research team led by Professor Gong Chen of Jinan University, also the scientific founder of NeuExcell Therapeutics Group, published an article in the latest issue of Progress in Neurobiology, using neuroregenerative gene therapy to treat temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) in rats. Chen’s team developed a new technology to convert hippocampal astrocytes directly into inhibitory interneurons and effectively reduced epileptic seizures, raising new hope for patients suffering from refractory TLE.

In recent years, Chen’s team has developed a novel neuroregenerative gene therapy that offers a potential new approach to treat a variety of neurological disorders. Neuroregenerative gene therapy is a new technology that uses viral vectors to deliver neural transcription factors to glial cells in the brain and directly convert glial cells into functional neurons in situ. Based on this innovation, Chen’s team has published a series of research articles demonstrating effective brain repair in both ischemic stroke and Huntington’s disease animal models.

“In this work, we used adeno-associated virus (AAV) as the gene delivery vector to overexpress a neural transcription factor NeuroD1 specifically in hippocampal astrocytes of TLE rats. NeuroD1 significantly downregulates glial gene expression but upregulates neuronal gene expression, and ultimately converts astrocytes into neurons”, said Dr. Jiajun Zheng, the first author of this work, explaining the principle of this work.

“Our electrophysiological and behavioral analyses demonstrated that the neuroregenerative gene therapy not only inhibited spontaneous recurrent seizures but also rescued the cognitive impairment and mood abnormalities of the epileptic animals. Different from traditional anti-epileptic drugs or surgery treatment, neuroregenerative gene therapy directly regenerates new neurons in the epileptic region to restore the balance between excitation and inhibition in neural networks. This novel technology may lead to a new path toward an effective treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy”, the co-corresponding author Jiandong Yu gave an additional note.

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