Selenium May Protect Against Epileptic Seizures, Mouse Study Suggests

Selenium and Epileptic SeizuresA new study finds the presence of Selenium in an enzyme involved in fighting oxidative stress may be necessary in preventing epileptic seizures.  The anti-oxidative enzyme, Glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) normally contains Selenium in the form selenocysteine, an amino acid.  Mice that were missing Selenium in this GPX4 enzyme did not develop specialized brain cells (paravalbumin interneurons) and as a result suffered epileptic seizures that were fatal within three weeks.

Researchers found that the protein selenocysteine needs to be found in the enzyme GPX4 and is critical for providing the anti-oxidative protection of the interneurons.  As shown in prior studies, the paravalbumin interneurons play a role in regulating excitability in the cortex of the brain.  This neuronal hyperexcitability is associated with epilepsy.

Researchers believe when translated to humans, the study shows Selenium plays a vital role in post-natal brain development and may be important since neurons themselves contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs) which are needed for synapse formation as well as migration.  This makes these neurons vulnerable to cell death (ferroptosis).

Further studies are recommended.



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