Increased hippocampal excitability constitutes a pathogenetic hallmark of pharmacoresistant human temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) can be subdivided into three classes based on sequence homologies, mechanisms of signal transduction as well as pharmacological characteristics. Generally, class I mGluRs mediate neuronal excitation whereas activation of class II and III mGluRs decreases synaptic transmission. Changes in expression of class I and III mGluR subunits have been described in human TLE. It remains to be determined whether altered mGluR expression relates to differences in seizure susceptibility or hippocampal damage. Here, we examine the transcription levels of mGluRs class I (mGluR1 and 5) and III (mGluR4 and 7) in experimental TLE and correlate differential mGluR subunit expression with mouse-strain-dependent susceptibility to TLE induced by pilocarpine. Expression of mGluRs 1, 4, 5 and 7 was determined in epileptic dentate gyrus granule cells (DG) in CD1, C57BL/6 and FVB/N mice by real time RT-PCR. FVB/N mice appear significantly more vulnerable to pilocarpine-induced seizures than C57BL/6 and CD1 strains. RT-PCR analysis demonstrates an increased expression of inhibitory mGluR 4 and downregulation of excitatory mGluR 1 in epileptic CD1 mice and a decrease of the excitatory mGluRs 1 and 5 in C57BL/6 (p<0.05, n=6 each) but not in the FVB/N strain. These results correlate differential expression of excitatory class mGluR I and inhibitory class mGluR III to seizure susceptibility and hippocampal damage. Our data suggest mGluRs class I and III as interesting potential therapeutic targets to interfere with hippocampal epileptogenesis and hyperexcitability.
"The well-established pilocapine model for temporal lobe epilepsy was induced (Cavalheiro et al., 1996; Shibley and Smith, 2002; Chen et al., 2005). Pilocarpine (290–340 mg/kg i.p.) was injected to adult (8–16 weeks old, 26–34 g BW) male mice 15 min after pre-treatment with methyl-scopolamine (1.5 mg/kg i.p.). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent studies show a key role of brain inflammation in epilepsy. However, the mechanisms controlling brain immune response are only partly understood. In the periphery, acetylcholine (ACh) release by the vagus nerve restrains inflammation by inhibiting the activation of leukocytes. Recent reports suggested a similar anti-inflammatory effect for ACh in the brain. Since brain cholinergic dysfunctions are documented in epileptic animals, we explored changes in brain cholinergic gene expression and associated immune response during pilocarpine-induced epileptogenesis. Levels of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and inflammatory markers were measured using real-time RT-PCR, in-situ hybridization and immunostaining in wild type (WT) and transgenic mice over-expressing the "synaptic" splice variant AChE-S (TgS). One month following pilocarpine, mice were video-monitored for spontaneous seizures. To test directly the effect of ACh on the brain's innate immune response, cytokines expression levels were measured in acute brain slices treated with cholinergic agents. We report a robust up-regulation of AChE as early as 48 h following pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE). AChE was expressed in hippocampal neurons, microglia, and endothelial cells but rarely in astrocytes. TgS mice overexpressing AChE showed constitutive increased microglial activation, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines 48 h after SE and accelerated epileptogenesis compared to their WT counterparts. Finally we show a direct, muscarine-receptor dependant, nicotine-receptor independent anti-inflammatory effect of ACh in brain slices maintained ex vivo. Our work demonstrates for the first time, that ACh directly suppresses brain innate immune response and that AChE up-regulation after SE is associated with enhanced immune response, facilitating the epileptogenic process. Our results highlight the cholinergic system as a potential new target for the prevention of seizures and epilepsy.
"These results indicated that B6 mice carry genes that convey protection from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity (Schauwecker & Steward, 1997). However, this protection does not extend to pilocarpine-induced excitotoxicity, because pilocarpine-induced SE results in hippocampal damage and spontaneous seizures in B6 mice (Borges et al. 2003; Chen et al. 2005; Peng et al. 2004; Shibley & Smith 2002). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In rodents, the cholinomimetic convulsant pilocarpine is widely used to induce status epilepticus (SE), followed by hippocampal damage and spontaneous recurrent seizures, resembling temporal lobe epilepsy. This model has initially been described in rats, but is increasingly used in mice, including the C57BL/6 (B6) inbred strain. In the present study, we compared the effects of pilocarpine in three B6 substrains (B6JOla, B6NHsd and B6NCrl) that were previously reported to differ in several behavioral and genetic aspects. In B6JOla and B6NHsd, only a small percentage of mice developed SE independently of whether pilocarpine was administered at high bolus doses or with a ramping up dosing protocol, but mortality was high. The reverse was true in B6NCrl, in which a high percentage of mice developed SE, but mortality was much lower compared to the other substrains. However, in subsequent experiments with B6NCrl mice, striking differences in SE induction and mortality were found in sublines of this substrain coming from different barrier rooms of the same vendor. In B6NCrl from Barrier #8, administration of pilocarpine resulted in a high percentage of mice developing SE, but mortality was low, whereas the opposite was found in B6NCrl mice from four other barriers of the same vendor. The analysis of F1 mice from a cross of female Barrier 8 pilocarpine-susceptible mice with resistant male mice from another barrier (#9) revealed that F1 male mice were significantly more sensitive to pilocarpine than the resistant parental male mice whereas female F1 mice were not significantly different from resistant Barrier 9 females. These observations strongly indicate X-chromosome linked genetic variation as the cause of the observed phenotypic alterations. To our knowledge, this is the first report which demonstrates that not only the specific B6 substrain but also sublines derived from the same substrain may markedly differ in their response to convulsants such as pilocarpine. As the described differences have a genetic basis, they offer a unique opportunity to identify the genes and pathways involved and contribute to a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of seizure susceptibility.
"Absence seizures consist of a decrease in consciousness characterized by a fixed stare, behavioural immobility and lack of responsiveness to external stimuli (Drinkenburg et al., 1991; Loiseau, 1992), and are characterized by the presence of Spike-and-Wave Discharges (SWDs) in electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings (Williams, 1953; Inoue et al., 1993; Avanzini et al., 1996). It has been demonstrated that SWDs are generated within a thalamic-cortico-thalamo-cortical network (Steriade and Deschenes, 1984; Crunelli and Leresche, 2002; Meeren et al., 2002, 2005). The reticular thalamic nucleus (RTN) synchronizes burst firing between reciprocally interconnected glutamatergic thalamic relay neurons and neocortical principal neurons (Steriade et al., 1986; McCormick and Bal, 1997). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individual metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor subtypes have been implicated in the pathophysiology of epileptic seizures, and are potential targets for novel antiepileptic drugs. Here, we examined the role of the mGlu4 receptor subtype in absence seizures using as models: (i) WAG/Rij rats, which develop spontaneous absence seizures after 2-3months of age; and (ii) mice treated with pentylentetrazole (PTZ, 30mg/kg, s.c.). Expression of mGlu4 receptors was enhanced in the reticular thalamic nucleus (RTN) of symptomatic WAG/Rij rats as compared with age-matched controls, as assessed by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. No changes were found in other regions of WAG/Rij rats including ventrobasal thalamic nuclei, somatosensory cortex, and hippocampus. Electron microscopy and in situ hybridization data suggested that mGlu4 receptors in the RTN are localized on excitatory cortical afferents. Systemic injection of the selective mGlu4 receptor positive allosteric modulator, N-phenyl-7-(hydroxyimino)cyclopropa[b]chromen1a-carboxamide (PHCCC, 10mg/kg, s.c.), substantially enhanced the number of spike-and-wave discharges (SWDs) in WAG/Rij rats. Injection of PHCCC also enhanced absence-like seizures in PTZ-treated mice, whereas it was totally inactive in mGlu4 receptor knockout mice, which were intrinsically resistant to PTZ-induced seizures, as expected. This data supports the hypothesis that activation of mGlu4 receptors participates in the generation of absence seizures which can be exacerbated with the use of a positive allosteric modulator.
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