Dr. Ukpong B. Eyo and Dr. Edward Perez-Reyes discover new insights into seizures

May 4, 2023 by zrb8mf@virginia.edu

Dr. Eyo and Dr. Perez-Reyes smile in front of greeneryNew School of Medicine findings about how the brain responds to seizures could facilitate the development of much-needed treatments for the third of patients who don’t respond to existing options.

The research, from the labs of UVA’s Ukpong B. Eyo, PhD, and Edward Perez-Reyes, PhD, suggests that immune cells called microglia play important, beneficial roles in controlling various types of seizures. Prior research had left scientists uncertain whether these cells were helpful or harmful during the brain’s seizure response, so UVA’s new discovery offers useful direction for researchers developing new treatments.

Seizure disorders affect more than 65 million people around the world. In addition to the immediate dangers seizures cause, prolonged seizures called status epilepticus can cause permanent brain damage. Seizures are commonly associated with epilepsy, but they can have a variety of causes, including infections, trauma, and even low blood sugar.

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal Glia. The team consisted of Synphane Gibbs-Shelton (Pharmacology Graduate Student in Dr. Eyo’s lab), Jordan Benderoth, Ronald P. Gaykema, Justyna Straub, Kenneth A. Okojie, Joseph O. Uweru, Dennis H. Lentferink, Binita Rajbanshi, Maureen N. Cowan, Brij Patel, Anthony Brayan Campos-Salazar, Perez-Reyes and Eyo.

Read more about their findings here.