Epilepsy Award funded by Michael Rogers Stirling Estate
Epilepsy and Bones – cellular electrophysiology.
Dr Sandra Petty
University of Melbourne
Co-Investigators: Professor Eleanor Mackie and Dr Chris French
Patients with epilepsy have double the fracture risk of the general population. There is currently no unifying theory to explain this increased fracture rate. However, as almost all anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) have been implicated, the mechanism appears common across AEDs (which often act upon ion channels to prevent seizures).
In bone, ion channels are likely to convey signals from sites of stress which require bone remodeling to maintain maximum strength and resistance to fracture. Alteration in bone cell ion channel excitability from epilepsy or AED use may potentially impede such a targeted remodelling process.
This novel proposed mechanism will be studied assessing bone cell ion channel activity in response to AED using a technique called patch clamping. The results may identify an explanatory mechanism for why patients with epilepsy have increased fracture risk, and potentially establish improved therapeutic targets for this clinically important problem, with the long-term aim to reduce the risk of fractures in patients with epilepsy.