Epilepsyis a complex disease with various causes which affects about 1% of the general population. About 30% of patients with epilepsy suffer from seizures that are poorly controlled by the available drugs.
Our research activity is translational, therefore, it focuses on the discovery of pathological mechanisms underlying the disease onset and progression for the development of novel therapies which provide not only a symptomatic control of seizures but also interfere with epileptogenesis. Epileptogenesis is the pathologic brain process causing the generation and recurrence of seizures and the progression of the disease which may include neuronal cell loss, neurological comorbidities and drug resistance.
Epilepsy: Role of neuroinflammation
The study focuses on the identification of neuroinflammatory mechanisms that may contribute to the generation of epileptic seizures in rodent models of structural (acquired or genetic) epilepsies. The aim is to interfere with such pathologic mechanisms with novel or re-purposed drugs for improving the disease course and decrease the burden of seizures or prevent their generation. Additional outcome measures include to decrease neuronal cell loss and improve cognitive deficits. These studies are based on the use of rodent models of acquired epilepsies mimicking pediatric and adult forms of epilepsy.
Epilepsy: Epigenetic control of neuroinflammation
The study principal aim is to assess if and how epigenetic processes affect the innate and inflammatory responses in epilepsy thus contributing to the pathologic outcomes. Using cutting-edge molecular biology techniques we study selected inflammatory gene promoter methylation changes and anti-inflammatory microRNAs in isolated glial and neuronal cell preparation from epileptogenic brain regions during epilepsy development in mice. We compare animal data with changes measured in human epileptic foci.
Epilepsy: Role of resolution mechanisms of neuroinflammation
Emerging experimental and clinical evidence indicate a reduced and inefficient resolution response of neuroinflammation in the brain undergoing epileptogenesis. This impaired anti-inflammatory homeostatic response may be responsible for the pathologic consequences of neuroinflammation in epilepsy. The study focuses on identifying the causes of this impaired resolution response and on strategies for improving this response with dietary or pharmacological interventions. Focus of the research is on anti-inflammatory lipids (resolvins, neuroprotectins) and proteins (IL-1 receptor antagonist) and the role of microbiota.
Epilepsy: characterization and validation of biomarkers
It is necessary to discover and validate biomarkers for epilepsy which are still lacking. In particular, we aim at characterizing novel prognostic biomarkers useful to stratify patients at high-risk of developing epilepsy in clinical studies, and predictive biomarkers sensitive to therapeutic effects of drugs. Using animal models aligned with prospective clinical studies in symptomatic epilepsies (for examples patients with neurotrauma, we apply MRI-based molecular neuroimaging techniques, electroencephalograpy for analysis of brain activity, behavioral tests and measurements of blood molecules in longitudinal studies during the development of epilepsy.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.