Source: Science Daily
Pakozdy and his colleagues have found antibodies in the blood of epileptic cats that react to proteins in the cell membranes of nerve cells. The proteins form the building blocks of ion channels that are involved in the production of nerve signals. The same ion channels are affected in the corresponding human form of epilepsy. They control the membrane's permeability to potassium ions based on the electric potential across the membrane, thereby helping generate the rapid nerve signals of the so-called action potential.
Immunotherapy for cats?
If the immune system attacks components of these ion channels, the production of nerve signals is disrupted. There is an increased release of neurotransmitters, which leads directly to the symptoms of epilepsy. Previous work -- in another group -- on human patients has shown that normal anti-epilepsy medication has hardly any effect on this form of epilepsy. However, immunotherapy has proven to be relatively effective. Pakozdy's work now shows that "limbic encephalitis in cats has the same cause as it does in humans, where the origins have been known for years. It is important that cats with epilepsy are diagnosed early, so that the correct form of therapy can be started. We believe this will dramatically increase the chances of a successful treatment. It seems as though epileptic cats might benefit from treatment with immune preparations."