The Neuroinflammatory Basis of Epilepsy

The lab's goal in this project is to apply the power of neuroinflammatory and neuroimmunological tools to the analysis and prevention of seizures and epilepsy in patients.

Current therapies used in patients with epilepsy target aberrant synaptic function, either pharmacologically or surgically. The Translational Neuroimmunology Lab is working with the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus, to test the novel hypothesis that inflammatory mediators are critical triggers or amplifiers of the underlying pathophysiology involved in the genesis, propagation and maintenance of the epileptic state.

Focus areas include:

  • Performing high-resolution immunophenotyping of chemokines, cytokines and activated innate immune effector cells in the blood of patients in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
  • Undertaking multidimensional analysis of immunophenotype, EEG pattern, and structural and functional MRI in epilepsy patients
  • Determining the role of the host response to implanted recording electrodes in generating false seizure foci in patients with epilepsy to potentially avoid unnecessary surgical resection of otherwise nonepileptic tissue
  • Characterizing the role of the immune system in failure to maintain a seizure-free state after surgical resection
  • Identifying potential immunological biomarkers of seizure activity

Gregory A. Worrell, M.D., Ph.D., collaborates on this research.