ENTICE Research Seminar – Annaelle Devergnas, Ph.D.

Annaelle Devergnas, Ph.D.
Associate Research Scientist
Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Location: Emory University School of Medicine, Room 153A
Date: Friday, August 28, 2015
Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Focal Epilepsy Model in Non-Human Primate Using Local Injection of Penicillin
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder affecting ∼1% of the population. Focal epilepsies like motor or hippocampal seizures are particularly challenging because of their frequent drug resistance and the difficulty to perform any surgical resection without inducing motor or memory deficit. Generating and characterizing non-human primate (NHP) models of epileptic seizure is important to understand the pathophysiology of the disease and to evaluate the pre-clinical effectiveness of new therapies. By using small injection of penicillin, a GABA antagonist, into the motor cortex or the hippocampus of NHP we can induce on-demand focal seizures that last for 24 hours. We used this model to induce focal motor seizures in 2 NHPs and study the electrophysiological implication of the basal ganglia. We found strong involvement of the subthalamo-(external)-pallidal pathway and based on this result, we tested the effect of subthalamic deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) as a potential therapy for this type of seizure. While the results were not striking they were encouraging. We found a reduction of the number of seizures for one of the animals and a reduction of the cumulated duration of seizure for the other one, but no effect was found on the duration of seizures. Based on these mixed results, control and propagation of focal motor seizure through the thalamo-cortical network should be investigated to better understand this particular type of seizures and hopefully propose a new therapy.

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