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Epilepsy Curr. 2012 May;12(3):105-10. doi: 10.5698/1535-7511-12.3.105.

Epileptogenesis: can the science of epigenetics give us answers?

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Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.


Epigenetic mechanisms are regulatory processes that control gene expression changes involved in multiple aspects of neuronal function, including central nervous system development, synaptic plasticity, and memory. Recent evidence indicates that dysregulation of epigenetic mechanisms occurs in several human epilepsy syndromes. Despite this discovery of a potential role for epigenetic mechanisms in epilepsy, few studies have fully explored their contribution to the process of epilepsy development known as epileptogenesis. The purpose of this article is to discuss recent findings suggesting that the process of epileptogenesis may alter the epigenetic landscape, affecting the gene expression patterns observed in epilepsy. Future studies focused on a better characterization of these aberrant epigenetic mechanisms hold the promise of revealing novel treatment options for the prevention and even the reversal of epilepsy.

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