Science Short

Could glucosamine supplements help dampen brain ‘excitability’ in people with epilepsy and seizures?

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / osmin4000
iStock / osmin4000
Glucosamine could be the key to up-regulating specific proteins in the brain that help to dampen hyperexcitability seen in seen in seizure disorders like epilepsy, research in rats suggests.

According to the researchers behind the study, the findings represent a potentially novel therapeutic target for the treatment or management of seizure disorders, and they show the need to better understand the physiology underlying these neural and brain circuit changes.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience​, the US-led team report that high levels of the glucosamine, leads to rapid increases in a protein regulator known as N-acetylglucosamine – or O-GlcNAcylation – and that this leads to a reduction in the hypereecitability of neurones.

Led by first author Luke Stewart and corresponding author Professor Lori McMahon, the team found that an acute increase in protein O-GlcNAcylation significantly decreased the sudden bursts of electrical activity known as epileptiform activity in area CA1 of the hippocampus, while increased protein O-GlcNAcylation in normal cells also protected against a later induction of drug-induced hyperexcitability.

"Our findings support the conclusion that protein O-GlcNAcylation is a regulator of neuronal excitability, and it represents a promising target for further research on seizure disorder therapeutics,"​ they said.

Related topics: Research

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