A novel role for the extracellular matrix sugar hyaluronan in induction of neonatal seizures following hypoxia-ischemia

$113,745 (co-funded with Auckland Medical Research Foundation)

Dr Justin Dean
Department of Physiology University of Auckland

Seizures are the most widespread form of neurological emergency in new-born infants. The most common cause of seizures in the new-born is oxygen deprivation during birth. These seizures can increase the risk of developing further brain injury and potential life-long disabilities. Currently, there are no effective treatments for proper management of seizures in very young babies. Our laboratory has new evidence that loss of a sugar called hyaluronan that surrounds brain cells is important for controlling seizures in the brain. We will explore whether inhibition of hyaluronan loss with drugs could be used to reduce seizures after oxygen starvation in new-born babies.