What is the role of chloride channels in the pathophysiology of epileptic seizures?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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The reversal potential of chloride is about negative 70 mV. The contribution of chloride channels during resting potential in neurons is minimal, because the typical resting potential is near -70 mV, and thus there is no significant electromotive force for net chloride flux. However, chloride currents become more important at more depolarized membrane potentials.

These channels make it difficult to achieve the threshold membrane potential necessary for an action potential. The influence of chloride currents on the neuronal membrane potential increases as the neuron becomes more depolarized by the summation of the excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). In this manner, the chloride currents become another force that must be overcome to fire an action potential, decreasing excitability.

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