Neuronal excitability is determined by the flux of ions through ion channels. Many types of ion channels are expressed in the central nervous system, each responsible for its own aspect of neuronal excitability, from postsynaptic depolarization to action potential generation to neurotransmitter release. These mechanisms are tightly regulated to create a balance between excitation and inhibition. Disruption of this balance is thought to be key in many neurological disorders, including epilepsy syndromes. More and more ion channel mutations are being identified through genetic studies; however, their incidence is still small, suggesting the presence of undiscovered mutations or other causative mechanisms. Understanding wild-type channel function during epileptic activity may also provide vital insights into the remaining idiopathic epilepsies and provide targets for future antiepileptic drugs.

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