The Role of Excitotoxicity in Essential Tremor Cerebellum

The cause and development of ET remains poorly understood. Functional imaging studies show cerebellar abnormalities in patients living with ET. The goal of this research is to investigate the role of excitotoxicity in the postmortem essential tremor cerebellum. Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters. It has been a suggested approach for ET, however there has yet to be any direct evidence that excitotoxicity plays a role in ET patients. Researchers propose to test this hypothesis by examining the number of excitatory synapses (structures that permit a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell) and the levels of excitotoxicity markers in the ET cerebellum. This will be the key step to understanding the process of cerebellar degenerative process in ET. The study will be conducted by Dr. Sheng-Han Kuo at the Essential Tremor Centralized Brain Repository, New York Brain Bank, Columbia University, New York.