Cellular and Molecular Biology


Emerging role of gap junctions in epilepsy

V.M. Nemani and D.K. Binder

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Offprint requests to: Devin K. Binder, MD., Ph.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, M779 Moffitt Hospital, Box 0112, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0112, USA. Fax: (415) 753-1772. e-mail: dbinder@itsa.ucsf.edu

Summary. This review highlights the contribution of gap junctions to the pathophysiology of epilepsy. The tissue expression and spatiotemporal regulation of connexins is discussed, and the phenotypes of specific connexin knockouts are considered. Electrophysiologic studies have implicated gap junctions in the generation of very fast oscillations preceding seizures. Gap junction inhibitors have shown powerful anticonvulsant effects, to date primarily in in vitro studies. Specific inhibition of gap junctions in vivo along with more detailed human tissue studies are needed to understand more fully the role of gap junctions in epileptogenesis. Histol Histopathol 20, 253-259 (2005)

Key words: Epilepsy, Gap junctions, Connexins, Very fast oscillations, Seizures