Dr. Karen M.J. van Loo

Group Leader
Department of Neuropathology
Department of Neuropathology
University of Bonn Medical Center
Venusberg-Campus 1
53175 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 228 287 19346
Email: Karen.van_loo(at)ukbonn.de

Research Focus

Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a common and severe, often therapy-refractory seizure disorder. Previously, we have observed a striking, new mode of neuronal plasticity critical for the development of chronic recurrent seizures after status epilepticus (SE). We found that SE induced by administration of the convulsant pilocarpine causes a transformation of most CA1 pyramidal cells from regular- to burst-firing mode, which profoundly modifies the input-output properties of a subset of CA1 neurons. By complementary electrophysiological, pharmacological and molecular approaches we observed the underlying mechanism to be the specific transcriptional upregulation of Cav3.2, a T-type Ca2+ channel subunit. Our major goal is to understand the role of these neurons in generating seizure activity in hippocampal micronetworks and subsequently to antagonize the epileptogenesis, which can be used to develop new strategies for pharmacological intervention in TLE pathogenesis, including the design of gene/pathway-specific drugs.
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