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Interneuron Transplantation as a Treatment for Epilepsy.


Stem-cell therapy has extraordinary potential to address critical, unmet needs in the treatment of human disease. One particularly promising approach for the treatment of epilepsy is to increase inhibition in areas of the epileptic brain by grafting new inhibitory cortical interneurons. When grafted from embryos, young γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic precursors disperse, functionally mature into host brain circuits as local-circuit interneurons, and can stop seizures in both genetic and acquired forms of the disease. These features make interneuron cell transplantation an attractive new approach for the treatment of intractable epilepsies, as well as other brain disorders that involve increased risk for epilepsy as a comorbidity. Here, we review recent efforts to isolate and transplant cortical interneuron precursors derived from embryonic mouse and human cell sources. We also discuss some of the important challenges that must be addressed before stem-cell-based treatment for human epilepsy is realized.

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