NYMC Faculty Publications


Cortical GABAergic Interneuron/Progenitor Transplantation as a Novel Therapy for Intractable Epilepsy

Document Type


Publication Date

June 2018


Cell Biology and Anatomy


Epilepsy is a severe neurological disease affecting more than 70 million people worldwide that is characterized by unpredictable and abnormal electrical discharges resulting in recurrent seizures. Although antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the mainstay of epilepsy treatment for seizure control, about one third of patients with epilepsy suffer from intractable seizures that are unresponsive to AEDs. Furthermore, the patients that respond to AEDs typically experience adverse systemic side effects, underscoring the urgent need to develop new therapies that target epileptic foci rather than more systemic interventions. Neurosurgical removal of affected brain tissues or implanting neurostimulator devices are effective options only for a fraction of patients with drug-refractory seizures, so it is imperative to develop treatments that are more generally applicable and restorative in nature. Considering the abnormalities of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons in epileptic brain tissues, one strategy with considerable promise is to restore normal circuit function by transplanting GABAergic interneurons/progenitors into the seizure focus. In this review, we focus on recent studies of cortical GABAergic interneuron transplantation to treat epilepsy and discuss critical issues in moving this promising experimental therapeutic treatment into clinic.