Impaired GABA-mediated neurotransmission has been implicated in many neurologic diseases, including epilepsy, dementia and psychiatric disorders. In this study, transplantation of GABA progenitor cells into the hippocampus of adult epileptic mice reduced the occurrence of seizures and restored behavioral deficits in spatial learning, hyperactivity and the aggressive response to handling. GABA neuron progenitors migrated up to 1,500 μm from the injection site and differentiated into functional inhibitory neurons receiving excitatory synaptic input. By contrast, cell grafts into the basolateral amygdala rescued the hyperactivity deficit, but did not alter seizure activity or other abnormal behaviors. The authors suggest that interneurons play a critical role in epilepsy and that interneuron cell transplantation may be a useful approach for halting seizures and rescuing accompanying deficits in severely epileptic mice.
Hunt RF, Girskis KM, Rubenstein JL, Alvarez-Buylla A, Baraban SC: GABA progenitors grafted into the adult epileptic brain control seizures and abnormal behavior. Nature Neuroscience 16(6):692-697 (2013).