Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Potential biomarkers and challenges in glioma diagnosis, therapy and prognosis
    Kan, LK ; Drummond, K ; Hunn, M ; Williams, D ; O'Brien, TJ ; Monif, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-08-01)
    Gliomas are the most common central nervous system malignancies and present with significant morbidity and mortality. Treatment modalities are currently limited to surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Increases in survival rate over the previous decades are negligible, further pinpointing an unmet clinical need in this field. There is a continual struggle with the development of effective glioma diagnostics and therapeutics, largely due to a multitude of factors, including the presence of the blood-brain barrier and significant intertumoural and intratumoural heterogeneity. Importantly, there is a lack of reliable biomarkers for glioma, particularly in aiding tumour subtyping and measuring response to therapy. There is a need for biomarkers that would both overcome the complexity of the disease and allow for a minimally invasive means of detection and analysis. This is a comprehensive review evaluating the potential of current cellular, proteomic and molecular biomarker candidates for glioma. Significant hurdles faced in glioma diagnostics and therapy are also discussed here.
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    Sub region-specific modulation of synchronous neuronal burst firing after a kainic acid insult in organotypic hippocampal cultures
    Reid, CA ; Adams, BEL ; Myers, D ; O'Brien, TJ ; Williams, DA (BMC, 2008-07-02)
    BACKGROUND: Excitotoxicity occurs in a number of pathogenic states including stroke and epilepsy. The adaptations of neuronal circuits in response to such insults may be expected to play an underlying role in pathogenesis. Synchronous neuronal firing can be induced in isolated hippocampal slices and involves all regions of this structure, thereby providing a measure of circuit activity. The effect of an excitotoxic insult (kainic acid, KA) on Mg2+-free-induced synchronized neuronal firing was tested in organotypic hippocampal culture by measuring extracellular field activity in CA1 and CA3. RESULTS: Within 24 hrs of the insult regional specific changes in neuronal firing patterns were evident as: (i) a dramatic reduction in the ability of CA3 to generate firing; and (ii) a contrasting increase in the frequency and duration of synchronized neuronal firing events in CA1. Two distinct processes underlie the increased propensity of CA1 to generate synchronized burst firing; a lack of ability of the CA3 region to 'pace' CA1 resulting in an increased frequency of synchronized events; and a change in the 'intrinsic' properties limited to the CA1 region, which is responsible for increased event duration. Neuronal quantification using NeuN immunoflurescent staining and stereological confocal microscopy revealed no significant cell loss in hippocampal sub regions, suggesting that changes in the properties of neurons within this region were responsible for the KA-mediated excitability changes. CONCLUSION: These results provide novel insight into adaptation of hippocampal circuits following excitotoxic injury. KA-mediated disruption of the interplay between CA3 and CA1 clearly increases the propensity to synchronized firing in CA1.
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    Anti-Epileptic Drug Combination Efficacy in an In Vitro Seizure Model - Phenytoin and Valproate, Lamotrigine and Valproate
    Kim, DT ; O'Brien, TJ ; Williams, DA ; French, CR ; Biagini, G (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-01-11)
    In this study, we investigated the relative efficacy of different classes of commonly used anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) with different mechanisms of action, individually and in combination, to suppress epileptiform discharges in an in vitro model. Extracellular field potential were recorded in 450 μm thick transverse hippocampal slices prepared from juvenile Wistar rats, in which "epileptiform discharges" (ED's) were produced with a high-K+ (8.5 mM) bicarbonate-buffered saline solution. Single and dual recordings in stratum pyramidale of CA1 and CA3 regions were performed with 3-5 MΩ glass microelectrodes. All drugs-lamotrigine (LTG), phenytoin (PHT) and valproate (VPA)-were applied to the slice by superfusion at a rate of 2 ml/min at 32°C. Effects upon frequency of ED's were assessed for LTG, PHT and VPA applied at different concentrations, in isolation and in combination. We demonstrated that high-K+ induced ED frequency was reversibly reduced by LTG, PHT and VPA, at concentrations corresponding to human therapeutic blood plasma concentrations. With a protocol using several applications of drugs to the same slice, PHT and VPA in combination displayed additivity of effect with 50μM PHT and 350μM VPA reducing SLD frequency by 44% and 24% individually (n = 19), and together reducing SLD frequency by 66% (n = 19). 20μM LTG reduced SLD frequency by 32% and 350μM VPA by 16% (n = 18). However, in combination there was a supra-linear suppression of ED's of 64% (n = 18). In another independent set of experiments, similar results of drug combination responses were also found. In conclusion, a combination of conventional AEDs with different mechanisms of action, PHT and VPA, displayed linear additivity of effect on epileptiform activity. More intriguingly, a combination of LTG and VPA considered particularly efficacious clinically showed a supra-additive suppression of ED's. This approach may be useful as an in vitro platform for assessing drug combination efficacy.