April 15, 2024

Transcriptomic Alterations in Cortical Astrocytes Following the Development of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE)

Article published by Nature Portfolio

*Featuring work of CURE Epilepsy Grantees, Drs. Michelle Olsen and Michelle Theus

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide, resulting from various accidents, sports-related injuries, and military combat situations. TBI can trigger long-term neurological complications, including PTE. Astrocytes, a type of glial cell in the brain, release pro-inflammatory molecules in response to brain injury and may contribute to the development of an epileptogenic environment in the brain. Researchers assessed changes in gene expression patterns in astrocytes isolated from injured and un-injured areas of the brain in mice four months post-injury. The study revealed that astrocytes from the injured cortex display key changes in expression of genes related to gliogenesis, glial development and differentiation, as well as iron homeostasis and respiration. These changes correlate with a typical pattern of gliosis or scarring of brain tissue seen in the progressive stages of TBI. Overall, this pattern of gene expression is consistent with the development of PTE in mice following brain injury. Further studies are needed to determine the expression and causal relationship of these proteins in PTE. This work supports the ideas that astrocytes play a vital role in the progression of epileptogenesis following TBI.