Structure of receptor playing vital role in epilepsy identified

March 10th, 2008 - 10:23 am ICT by admin  

London, March 10 (IANS) Scientists at the University of Cambridge have identified the structure of a brain receptor that probably plays a vital role in conditions like epilepsy and pre-menstrual tension (PMT). Although existing in small numbers, the receptors are thought to be disproportionately important in controlling our consciousness, according to a new study.

Researchers have found that the receptors play an important role in the body’s response to gamma-aminobutyric acid, a chemical used by the brain to control certain functions.

Besides being highly sensitive to anaesthetics, they are also linked with epilepsy, PMT and to the body’s response to alcohol, shows the study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Molecular Pharmacology.

“Scientists think that when there is a problem in the signalling, conditions such as epilepsy and PMT can occur,” said team leader Mike Edwardson, who described this type of receptor as playing a crucial role.

“Now that we have identified the detailed structure of the receptor we are in a better position to design drugs that bind to it. Armed with this information, researchers can now build detailed models of the receptor that help develop drugs to intervene in the signals that it receives,” Edwardson said.

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