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Neuronal excitability of the brain and ongoing homeostasis depend not only on intrinsic neuronal properties, but also on external environmental factors; together these determine the functionality of neuronal networks. Homeostatic factors become critically important during epileptogenesis, a process that involves complex disruption of self-regulatory mechanisms. Here we focus on the bioenergetic homeostatic network regulator adenosine, a purine nucleoside whose availability is largely regulated by astrocytes. Endogenous adenosine modulates complex network function through multiple mechanisms including adenosine receptor-mediated pathways, mitochondrial bioenergetics, and adenosine receptor-independent changes to the epigenome. Accumulating evidence from our laboratories shows that disruption of adenosine homeostasis plays a major role in epileptogenesis. Conversely, we have found that reconstruction of adenosine’s homeostatic functions provides new hope for the prevention of epileptogenesis. We will discuss how adenosine-based therapeutic approaches may interfere with epileptogenesis on an epigenetic level, and how dietary interventions can be used to restore network homeostasis in the brain. We conclude that reconstruction of homeostatic functions in the brain offers a new conceptual advance for the treatment of neurological conditions which goes far beyond current target-centric treatment approaches.


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