We fight to improve the lives
of everyone affected by epilepsy

Warning message

This article was published in September 2013. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Tests on zebrafish could hold key for future epilepsy treatment

5 Sep 2013

What do zebrafish and antihistamine have in common?  Surprisingly, it’s epilepsy! According to a report on the Nature website, scientists have found that seizures in zebrafish can be controlled by giving them clemizole, an antihistamine drug that’s been around since the 1950s.

The fish all had the fish equivalent of Dravet syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a rare condition, starting in infancy, characterised by difficult to control seizures. Seizures can sometimes happen hundreds of times a day. According to the report, scientists were testing 320 different compounds on the fish. The scientists say they are using zebrafish more and more instead of testing on animals like rats or mice. They discovered that clemizole worked to reduce seizure activity, although they don’t know why.

It is well known that some antihistamines can sometimes make seizures worse, so the scientists were surprised: “This finding was completely unexpected. Based on what is known about clemizole, we did not predict that it would have anti-epileptic effects,” said head scientist, Scott Baraban.

Why clemizole works to control seizures in these fish is not known. But the scientists tested 10 other antihistamines and none of them blocked seizures in the same way.

The scientists, based at the University of California in San Francisco, US, are continuing their investigations. We will report any further developments here.

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment...

Question about your epilepsy?

Your question will be sent to our helpline advisors.

Have a comment about this page?

All comments are reviewed by a moderator before publishing. Comments will be edited or deleted if they are offensive, libellous, slanderous, abusive, commercial or irrelevant.

We ask for your email when you make a comment through this website. This means that we can let you know directly that we have replied to you. By making a comment through the website, you allow us to use the comment in our publicity without using your name. If we would like to use your name, we will email you to get your permission.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
7 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.