Amygdala-kindling does not induce a persistent loss of GABA neurons in the substantia nigra pars reticulata of rats.
ABSTRACT GABAergic inhibition of the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNR) has been shown to suppress seizures in most models of epilepsy, including the amygdala-kindling model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). A dysfunction of this seizure gating mechanism of the SNR may lead to facilitation of seizure propagation in such models. In post-status epilepticus models of TLE, GABAergic neurons in the SNR are damaged, but it is not known whether such damage also occurs in kindling. By using stereological techniques for cell counting in amygdala-kindled rats, we determined the density of SNR neurons that were labeled for GABA by immunohistochemistry or for the two isoforms of the GABA-synthesizing enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD), GAD65 and GAD67, by in situ hybridization (ISH). In addition, GABA neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) were counted. While there was a significant reduction of GAD65 mRNA expressing neurons in the BLA of kindled rats, no alteration in the density of neurons was observed in the anterior or posterior SNR when cells were counted 6 weeks after the last kindled seizure. Our previous finding of reduced GAD and GABA levels in synaptosomes isolated from the SN of kindled rats together with the present observation of unchanged density of SNR neurons in such rats suggest that kindling affects the GABAergic projections from the striatum or globus pallidus to the SNR rather than directly affecting GABA neurons in the SNR.