Long non-coding RNAs: regulators of epileptogenesis and potential targets for therapy

Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy in adults, with seizures being the major symptom although individuals with this disease may also have anxiety, depression and/or memory disturbances as a result of their condition. Temporal lobe epilepsy is very difficult to treat and about 30% of individuals with this type of epilepsy are failed by conventional treatments. Temporal lobe epilepsy is thought to arise following various brain injuries such as traumatic brain injury, stroke or infection. These brain injuries trigger several disease-causing processes in the brain which eventually culminate in seizure development. One major change observed following epilepsy-causing brain insults are large scale changes in the expression patterns of genes in the brain. These changes likely drive many of the other processes because gene expression dictates how our brain cells behave. We have found that a specific group of molecules called long non-coding RNAs are produced at different rates in the brain following epilepsy-causing brain injury. This group of molecules are critical for almost every cellular activity and may therefore play an important role in the transformation of cells to an epileptic state. 

The current project will use advanced molecular biology techniques to initially identify the full extent of the dysregulation of long non-coding RNAs in epilepsy and then test whether we can target these molecules to identify novel therapeutic strategies to treat epilepsy.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Gary Brennan
Host Institution
University College Dublin
HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme