Role of Astrocytes in Epilepsy

  • Devin K. Binder
  • Christian Steinhäuser

25.1 Introduction

Epilepsy, affecting about 1% of the population, comprises a group of disorders of the brain characterized by the periodic and unpredictable occurrence of seizures. Epilepsy is a major public health problem in which those affected experience seizures that impair the performance of many tasks and cause major medical and psychosocial morbidity. Elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of seizure generation may lead to novel antiepileptic drug (AED) therapies.

Most current AEDs act on widely expressed ion channels that directly control neuronal excitability (Rogawski and Loscher, 2004). For example, sodium channel blockers (e.g., phenytoin) reduce the rate and/or rise of neuronal action potentials and thus inhibit high-frequency neuronal firing. Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) receptor agonists (e.g., phenobarbital) increase the efficacy of inhibitory synapses, thus attenuating excitability. Existing medications have two major drawbacks. First, even with optimal...


Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Tuberous Sclerosis Glutamate Transporter Epileptiform Activity Hippocampal Sclerosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Antiepileptic drug


α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole propionate




Cyclic adenosine monophosphate


Central nervous system


Extracellular space


Gamma-amino butyric acid


Glial fibrillary acidic protein




Metabotropic glutamate receptor


Mesial temporal sclerosis


Temporal lobe epilepsy


Tuberous sclerosis



Devin K. Binder is supported by an American Epilepsy Society/Milken Family Foundation Early Career Physician Scientist Award. Christian Steinhäuser is supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB/TR3, TPC1; SPP1172, SE 774/3).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devin K. Binder
    • 1
  • Christian Steinhäuser
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cellular NeurosciencesMedical Faculty, University of BonnBonnGermany

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