Spanish scientists discover that the participation of cellular prion protein (PrPc) is essential to maintain the balance in neuronal transmission in the central nervous system (CNS). A very important finding to understand better epilepsy.
The CNS equilibrium occurs between the mechanisms that excite and inhibit neurons. In this way, it has been seen that in experimental animals, the absence of the PrPc protein causes the alteration of the mechanisms, which can lead to epileptic episodes.
Although scientists expected that increasing protein levels would reach equilibrium, they find something unexpected, since an excess of the protein increases the excitability of the CNS even more than its absence. These alterations further increase the susceptibility to suffer more severe epileptic seizures.
These results allow to reach the conclusion that the protein, in its right concentration, is fundamental to maintain the homeostasis or balance of neurotransmission in the CNS.
The cellular prion protein, in its proper concentration, is essential to maintain the homeostasis or balance of neurotransmission in the CNS
The work has been carried out by researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (Ibec) and the University of Barcelona (UB), with the collaboration of the Pablo de Olavide University of Seville and the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology.
The discovery has been published in PloS ONE, where it is noted that epileptic periods occur when excitability is altered in the central nervous system (CNS).
With this finding, more elements are available to deepen the basic knowledge of epilepsy. Given these results, the Ibec and the UB are working on a project where they study the expression and modification of the protein in epileptic patients.