, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 284–294

Transplantation of GABA-producing cells for seizure control in models of temporal lobe epilepsy

Theme 2: Cell Therapy

DOI: 10.1016/j.nurt.2009.01.016

Cite this article as:
Thompson, K. Neurotherapeutics (2009) 6: 284. doi:10.1016/j.nurt.2009.01.016


A high percentage of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) are refractory to conventional pharmacotherapy. The progressive neurodegenerative processes associated with a lifetime of uncontrolled seizures mandate the development of alternative approaches to treat this disease. Transplantation of inhibitory cells has been suggested as a potential therapeutic strategy to achieve seizure suppression in humans with intractable TLE. Preclinical investigations over 20 years have demonstrated that multiple cell types from several sources can produce anticonvulsant, and antiepileptogenic, effects in animal models of TLE. Transplanting GABA-producing cells, in particular, has been shown to reduce seizures in several well-established models. This review addresses experimentation using different sources of transplantable GABAergic cells. highlighting progress with fetal tissue, neural cell lines, and stem cells. Regardless of the source of the GABAergic cells used in seizure studies, common challenges have emerged. Several variables influence the anticonvulsant potential of GABA-producing cells. For example, tissue availability, graft survival, immunogenicity, tumorigenicity, and varying levels of cell migration, differentiation, and integration into functional circuits and the microenvironment provided by sclerotic tissue all contribute to the efficacy of transplanted cells. The challenge of understanding how all of these variables work in concert, in a disease process that has no well-established etiology, suggests that there is still much basic research to be done before rational cell-based therapies can be developed for TLE.

Key Words

GABA cell transplantation temporal lobe epilepsy seizures genetic engineering 
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Copyright information

© The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyOccidental CollegeLos Angeles
  2. 2.VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare SystemLos Angeles

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