GABA-ergic cell therapy for epilepsy: Advances, limitations and challenges

Ashok K. Shetty, Dinesh Upadhya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Citations (SciVal)


Diminution in the number of gamma-amino butyric acid positive (GABA-ergic) interneurons and their axon terminals, and/or alterations in functional inhibition are conspicuous brain alterations believed to contribute to the persistence of seizures in acquired epilepsies such as temporal lobe epilepsy. This has steered a perception that replacement of lost GABA-ergic interneurons would improve inhibitory synaptic neurotransmission in the epileptic brain region and thereby reduce the occurrence of seizures. Indeed, studies using animal prototypes have reported that grafting of GABA-ergic progenitors derived from multiple sources into epileptic regions can reduce seizures. This review deliberates recent advances, limitations and challenges concerning the development of GABA-ergic cell therapy for epilepsy. The efficacy and limitations of grafts of primary GABA-ergic progenitors from the embryonic lateral ganglionic eminence and medial ganglionic eminence (MGE), neural stem/progenitor cells expanded from MGE, and MGE-like progenitors generated from human pluripotent stem cells for alleviating seizures and co-morbidities of epilepsy are conferred. Additional studies required for possible clinical application of GABA-ergic cell therapy for epilepsy are also summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 01-03-2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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