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Investigation of the immunological response to epilepsy in the retina of mice

Moberg, Eric (2016) MOBK01 20161
Degree Projects in Molecular Biology
Popular Abstract
Epilepsy is a disorder which today affects roughly 1% of the global population, this percentage is slightly higher in developing countries and slightly lower in industrialised countries. Epilepsy can be caused by a large number of factors such as traumatic head injury, genetic predisposition, complications at child birth and more.

An epileptic seizure consists of an electrical discharge in the brain that either starts in one specific region, which can then potentially spread over the remainder of the brain or it can happen all over the brain at once. Should it be localized around a specific area of the brain the epilepsy is said to be focal and the area is called a foci.

Since epilepsy share many of its symptoms and the damage that... (More)
Epilepsy is a disorder which today affects roughly 1% of the global population, this percentage is slightly higher in developing countries and slightly lower in industrialised countries. Epilepsy can be caused by a large number of factors such as traumatic head injury, genetic predisposition, complications at child birth and more.

An epileptic seizure consists of an electrical discharge in the brain that either starts in one specific region, which can then potentially spread over the remainder of the brain or it can happen all over the brain at once. Should it be localized around a specific area of the brain the epilepsy is said to be focal and the area is called a foci.

Since epilepsy share many of its symptoms and the damage that causes it is present only in the brain it is a disorder which is hard to diagnose, according to some reports as many as 20% of the people who are at first diagnosed with epilepsy are misdiagnosed. This is made a much larger problem by the fact that epilepsy is a progressive disorder. Meaning that for each seizure the damage which causes the epilepsy seems to worsen in the case of focal epilepsy even overtime causing the build-up of a sort of “scar-tissue” around the foci. So a failure to diagnose epilepsy might quickly lead to the damage becoming much larger than it would have needed to be from the beginning.

Now it has been known for a couple of years that the epilepsy causes the brains immune system to become activated, this results in a special kind of the brains defence cells to become more active and numerous. However what has been recently discovered is that since the brain shares its immune system with the eyes this so called immune response is present in the eyes as well. While this discovery has been done in rats, if the same effect exists in humans detecting these defence cells could prove a new way of diagnosing epilepsy.

That is the larger goal of the project which I’ve been working on, finding a new non-invasive tool for detecting epilepsy. One way we would like to be able to detect these cells are through MRI, for this reason two types of mice with differing types of epilepsy were given an MRI scan.

Disappointingly though the results of this MRI came back negative, so the aim of this recent study was to determine whether the mice used in the MRI scan actually had an immune response in their eyes and the MRI failed to detect it or if there was no immune response to detect.

What was found after using anti-bodies to find the immune cells of the retina was that there doesn’t seem to be an increased number of immune cells. However mice are known to, when it concerns immune responses in the brain, in some cases have a noticeably weaker response. So these findings are in line with other research done on the relationship between rats and mice. What was found was a trend with more anti-body binding in one of the types of epileptic mice that was scanned. This means that even though the cells might not be more numerous they seem to be either larger or more active. The next step is therefore too study what the immune cells seems to be doing in order to determine if there is a small scale response that we didn’t detect by counting the cells.

Advisor: Matilda Ahl
Bachelor´s Degree Project 15 credits, 2016
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Moberg, Eric
supervisor
organization
course
MOBK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
language
English
id
8894349
date added to LUP
2016-10-31 12:09:11
date last changed
2016-10-31 12:09:11
@misc{8894349,
  author       = {Moberg, Eric},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Investigation of the immunological response to epilepsy in the retina of mice},
  year         = {2016},
}