Micro-gene that protects brain from developing epilepsy


A team of researchers headed by Prof. Hermona Soreq from Hebrew University of Jerusalem with her research experience determined the cause of epilepsy. Epilepsy a disorder in nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.

The healthy brains protected from epileptic seizures by rapidly produced molecules called short RNAs, or microRNAs (miRs). MicroRNAs recently-discovered class of non-coding RNAs prevent genes from expressing particular proteins.

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Excess miR-211 production

Furthermore, Prof. Soreq and her colleagues at the Hebrew University developed a transgenic mouse. Producing unusually high amounts of one micro-RNA called miR-211. Still, the levels of this molecule gradually lowered by administering the antibiotic Doxycycline. Enabling tests of its potency and to avoid epilepsy. Similar excess miR-211 production in the engineered mice to the levels found in normal brains. In fact, within four days this caused the mice to display electrically-recorded epilepsy and hypersensitivity to epilepsy-inducing compounds. However, Dynamic changes in the amount of miR-211 in the forebrains of these mice shifted the threshold for spontaneous and pharmacologically induced seizures, alongside changes in the cholinergic pathway genes.

Next, these findings indicated that mir-211 plays a beneficial role in protecting the brain from epileptic seizures in the engineered mice.

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After all researchers suspect in human brain miR-211 act as a protective mechanism to reduce risk of epileptic seizures. Although, some people’s brains influenced to seizures but others do not, even when subjected to these same stressors. Inspite of searching for the physiological mechanisms that allow some people’s brains to avoid epilepsy then found that increased levels of micro-RNA 211 could have a protective effect.

According to the researchers, recognizing the importance of miR-211 could open new avenues for diagnosing and interfering with epilepsy. By understanding how miR-211 affects seizure thresholds, scientists could potentially develop therapeutics that lead to greater miR-211-production.