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Review
. 2015 Jan;24:44-51.
doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2014.09.018. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Epilepsy Research Methods Update: Understanding the Causes of Epileptic Seizures and Identifying New Treatments Using Non-Mammalian Model Organisms

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Review

Epilepsy Research Methods Update: Understanding the Causes of Epileptic Seizures and Identifying New Treatments Using Non-Mammalian Model Organisms

Vincent T Cunliffe et al. Seizure. .
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Abstract

This narrative review is intended to introduce clinicians treating epilepsy and researchers familiar with mammalian models of epilepsy to experimentally tractable, non-mammalian research models used in epilepsy research, ranging from unicellular eukaryotes to more complex multicellular organisms. The review focuses on four model organisms: the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the zebrafish Danio rerio. We consider recent discoveries made with each model organism and discuss the importance of these advances for the understanding and treatment of epilepsy in humans. The relative ease with which mutations in genes of interest can be produced and studied quickly and cheaply in these organisms, together with their anatomical and physiological simplicity in comparison to mammalian species, are major advantages when researchers are trying to unravel complex disease mechanisms. The short generation times of most of these model organisms also mean that they lend themselves particularly conveniently to the investigation of drug effects or epileptogenic processes across the lifecourse.

Keywords: Animal research; Anti epileptic drugs; Epilepsy; Epileptogenesis; Ictogenesis; Non-mammalian.

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