A new study suggest that a new drug that inhibits neonatal seizures in rodent models  open up; therefore new avenues for the treatment of epilepsy in human newborns. Researchers have identify that gluconate a small organic compound find in fruit and honey acts as an anticonvulsant; Because  inhibiting seizures ; by targeting the activity of channels that control the flow of chloride ions in and out of neonatal neurons.

Inhibits neonatal seizures

A paper describing the research; from an international team of scientists led by Penn State researchers; appears May 15, 2019 in the journal Molecular Brain. Neonates are the most vulnerable population to seizures but there is still no effective medication for the treatment of neonatal epilepsy.

The incidence of epilepsy is highest in the first year of life, with two to four infant babies suffering from neonatal epilepsy for every 1,000 live births in the United States. Unfortunately; so far there is no effective drug available that is specifically develop for neonatal epilepsy patients.”Over the past decades; many drugs have been develop to treat epilepsy in adults. However; neonatal epilepsy patients are often resistant to or do not respond to current anti-epilepsy drugs, and long-term use of some of these treatments may have side effects on brain development.

Effective drug available

In the current study; Chen and his colleagues demonstrated that gluconate can inhibit seizure activity in neonatal neurons. More importantly; gluconate suppresses seizure activity in neonatal animals more effectively than in adults. This is truly exciting because we have finally identified a potential anticonvulsant drug that shows preference to inhibit neonatal seizure activity.”Gluconate is already widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries as an inactive food or drug additive.

For example, it can bind with metal ions to form stable gluconate salts, such as calcium-gluconate; potassium-gluconate, and zinc-gluconate; that are used for the uptake of metal-ion supplements. Gluconate is a small organic compound that is produce through the oxidization of glucose in many plants, fruits, and honey.

Toward therapeutic development

It has minimal side effects when compared to other organic ions. Because of this, our discovery of its anti-seizure function in neonates could have an accelerated path toward therapeutic development for use in the treatment of neonatal epilepsy.”The research team find that gluconate inhibits neonatal seizures by targeting what are known as CLC-3 chloride channels. These channels mediate a large ion current in neonatal brains but are less active in adult brains. Gluconate appears to be too large to pass through the small openings of the CLC-3 channels and therefore acts as a channel blocker.