Link Between Absence Seizures and T-Type Calcium Channels

  • Yucai Chen
  • W. Davis Parker


An animal model of human absence epilepsy containing a G to C mutation of the Cav3.2 T-type Ca2+ channel gene (Cacna1h) ties together the gene mutation, increased T-type Ca2+ channel activity and the epileptic phenotype. Mice lacking a related gene (Cacna1a) also show enhanced T-type Ca2+ current and increased susceptibility to absence seizures. On the other hand, mutations that decrease T-type Ca2+ channel activity in thalamocortical relay neurons display no spike–wave discharges associated with absence seizures. These animal models are supported by genetic studies showing defects in T-type Ca2+ channel function in humans suffering from epilepsy. Thus, in both human and animal studies, T-type Ca2+ channel antagonists show promise in the treatment of absence seizures.


Absence Seizure Absence Epilepsy Wave Discharge Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy Burst Firing 
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.



We thank Peggy Mankin and Hongyi Chen for manuscript preparation. This work was funded by the Pediatrics Department fund, Children’s Hospital of Illinois.


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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoPeoriaUSA

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