Homeostatic Plasticity in Epilepsy

G. Lignani, P. Baldelli, V. Marra

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In the healthy brain, neuronal excitability and synaptic strength are homeostatically regulated to keep neuronal network activity within physiological boundaries. Epilepsy is characterized by episodes of highly synchronized firing across in widespread neuronal populations, due to a failure in regulation of network activity. Here we consider epilepsy as a failure of homeostatic plasticity or as a maladaptive response to perturbations in the activity. How homeostatic compensation is involved in epileptogenic processes or in the chronic phase of epilepsy, is still debated. Although several theories have been proposed, there is relatively little experimental evidence to evaluate them. In this perspective, we will discuss recent results that shed light on the potential role of homeostatic plasticity in epilepsy. First, we will present some recent insights on how homeostatic compensations are probably active before and during epileptogenesis and how their actions are temporally regulated and closely dependent on the progression of pathology. Then, we will consider the dual role of transcriptional regulation during epileptogenesis, and finally, we will underline the importance of homeostatic plasticity in the context of therapeutic interventions for epilepsy. While classic pharmacological interventions may be counteracted by the epileptic brain to maintain its potentially dysfunctional set point, novel therapeutic approaches may provide the neuronal network with the tools necessary to restore its physiological balance. © Copyright © 2020 Lignani, Baldelli and Marra.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFront. Cell. Neurosci.
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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