Smoke Signals

How signaling molecules communicate information provides insight into stroke, epilepsy treatments

January 10, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) According to new research from the University of Texas Health Science Center, two significant signaling molecules communicate through nerve cells to regulate electrical and chemical activity.

The finding could lead to better therapies for epilepsy, stroke and other conditions.

The team of researchers isolated nerve cells from rats and found a relationship between calcium ions and signaling enzymes (phosphoinositide kinases). The transport of calcium and calcium levels in nerve cells are vital for proper neurobiological function, said lead author Mark S. Shapiro, Ph.D., professor of physiology at UTHSC.

For example, in epilepsy, abnormal levels of intracellular calcium ions are believed to contribute to the hyper-excitability in the brain that results in seizures. This puts people who have had epileptic seizures at risk for future seizures as the normal regulation of brain activity breaks down.

Shapiro said the study, which provides novel targets for therapeutic intervention for a host of conditions, should help guide physicians and drug companies in developing new treatments for mental, neurological, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.