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Enhancing glucose metabolism via gluconeogenesis is therapeutic in a zebrafish model of Dravet syndrome.


Energy-producing pathways are novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Here, we focussed on correcting metabolic defects in a catastrophic paediatric epilepsy, Dravet syndrome which is caused by mutations in sodium channel NaV1.1 gene, SCN1A. We utilized a translatable zebrafish model of Dravet syndrome (scn1lab) which exhibits key characteristics of patients with Dravet syndrome and shows metabolic deficits accompanied by down-regulation of gluconeogenesis genes, pck1 and pck2. Using a metabolism-based small library screen, we identified compounds that increased gluconeogenesis via up-regulation of pck1 gene expression in scn1lab larvae. Treatment with PK11195, a pck1 activator and a translocator protein ligand, normalized dys-regulated glucose levels, metabolic deficits, translocator protein expression and significantly decreased electrographic seizures in mutant larvae. Inhibition of pck1 in wild-type larvae mimicked metabolic and behaviour defects observed in scn1lab mutants. Together, this suggests that correcting dys-regulated metabolic pathways can be therapeutic in neurodevelopmental disorders such as Dravet syndrome arising from ion channel dysfunction.

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