Esther Krook-Magnuson

University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, USA.

Neuroscience Department.

LECTURE: How Might Novel Technologies such as Optogenetics and DREADDS Lead to Better Treatments in Epilepsy?

Tools which allow cell-type selective neuromodulation, such as optogenetics, allow circuit dissection in epilepsy and, importantly, the potential to better understand the disorder and develop novel treatment strategies. Our work has shown that targeting specific populations of neurons in the hippocampal formation using on-demand optogenetics can be an effective strategy for inhibiting temporal lobe seizures. However, care must be applied, because optogenetic methods can also be used to induce, rather than inhibit, seizures. Exciting data also points to the ability of selective neuromodulation targeting areas remote from the seizure focus to powerfully inhibit seizures. Together, our work has led to new insights not only into epilepsy, but neuronal circuits in healthy animals as well, and may lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches.