Merab Kokaia


Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Neurosciences
  • Neurology



Epilepsy is one of the most devastating neurological diseases affecting about 1% of the population of the western countries. Despite certain progress in antiepileptic drug development in about 30-40% of cases epileptic seizures do not respond to conventional pharmacological treatment therapies. Recently neuropeptides and neurotrophic factors emerged as strong regulators of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission in the CNS thus offering a potent tool to counteract the seizure activity. However, it is not clear what the role of these agents is in mechanisms of epileptogenesis.

We explore the role of neuropeptides and neurotrophic factors in modulation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission and epileptogensis in the brain. We use rats and trasngenic mice in combination with in vivo epilepsy models (kindling, status epilepsitcus) and in vitro approaches (patch-clamp in brain slices, optogenetics). One of the specific aims of this research line is to use both direct and indirect targeted gene transfer of neuropeptides and neurotrophic factors into the different brain regions to investigate mechanistic aspects of their action on synaptic transmission and epileptogensis. We also explore seizure-suppressant effects of optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches in vitro and in vivo in animal models of epilepsy.

This research will help in better understanding of the mechanisms for epileptogenesis and might lead to development of new gene therapy-based strategies for epilepsy treatment.

Recent research outputs

Pitkänen, A., Henshall, D. C., Cross, J. H., Guerrini, R., Jozwiak, S., Merab Kokaia, Simonato, M., Sisodiya, S. & Mifsud, J., 2019, In : Epilepsia.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tsverava, L., Kandashvili, M., Margvelani, G., Lortkipanidze, T., Gamkrelidze, G., Lepsveridze, E., Merab Kokaia & Solomonia, R., 2019, In : BioMed Research International. 2019, 4518160.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paolone, G., Falcicchia, C., Lovisari, F., Merab Kokaia, Bell, W. J., Fradet, T., Barbieri, M., Wahlberg, L. U., Emerich, D. F. & Simonato, M., 2019, In : The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 39, 11, p. 2144-2156 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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