Spontaneous Epileptiform Activity in Rat Neocortex after Controlled Cortical Impact Injury

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11203, USA.
Journal of neurotrauma (Impact Factor: 3.71). 08/2010; 27(8):1541-8. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2009.1244
Source: PubMed


A hallmark of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the development of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). However, the mechanisms underlying PTE remain poorly understood. In this study, we used a controlled cortical impact (CCI) model in rats to examine post-traumatic changes in neocortical excitability. Neocortical slices were prepared from rats at 7-9 days (week 1) and 14-16 days (week 2) after CCI injury. By week 2, we observed a substantial gray matter lesion with a cavity that extended to the hippocampal structure. Fluoro-Jade B staining of slices revealed active neuronal degeneration during weeks 1 and 2. Intracellular and extracellular recordings obtained from layer V revealed evoked and spontaneous epileptiform discharges in neocortices of CCI-injured rats. At week 1, intracellular recordings from pyramidal cells revealed evoked epileptiform firing that was synchronized with population events recorded extracellularly, suggestive of increased excitability. This activity was characterized by bursts of action potentials that were followed by recurrent, repetitive after-discharges. At week 2, both spontaneous and evoked epileptiform firing were recorded in slices from injured rats. The evoked discharges resembled those observed at week 1, but with longer burst durations. Spontaneous activity included prolonged, ictal-like discharges lasting up to 8-10 sec, and briefer interictal-like burst events (<1 sec). These results indicate that during the first 2 weeks following severe CCI injury, there is a progressive development of neocortical hyperexcitability that ultimately leads to spontaneous epileptiform firing, suggesting a rapid epileptogenic process.

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    • "Interestingly, we have previously demonstrated that CDK5 priming of CRMP2 is decreased in response to prolonged neuronal activity and that the loss of priming is directly translated into a reduction in GSK3β-phosphorylated CRMP2 (Wilson and Khanna, unpublished). As TBI can lead to progressive hyperexcitability (Yang et al., 2010b), the sustained loss of CRMP2 phosphorylation is potentially due to progressive changes in neuronal function which are secondary to the precipitating injury, such as activity-driven changes in CDK5 function. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aberrant ion channel function has been heralded as a main underlying mechanism driving epilepsy and its symptoms. However, it has become increasingly clear that treatment strategies targeting voltage-gated sodium or calcium channels merely mask the symptoms of epilepsy without providing disease-modifying benefits. Ion channel function is likely only one important cog in a highly complex machine. Gross morphological changes, such as reactive sprouting and outgrowth, may also play a role in epileptogenesis. Mechanisms responsible for these changes are not well-understood. Here we investigate the potential involvement of the neurite outgrowth-promoting molecule collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2). CRMP2 activity, in this respect, is regulated by phosphorylation state, where phosphorylation by a variety of kinases, including glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (GSK3β) renders it inactive. Phosphorylation (inactivation) of CRMP2 was decreased at two distinct phases following traumatic brain injury (TBI). While reduced CRMP2 phosphorylation during the early phase was attributed to the inactivation of GSK3β, the sustained decrease in CRMP2 phosphorylation in the late phase appeared to be independent of GSK3β activity. Instead, the reduction in GSK3β-phosphorylated CRMP2 was attributed to a loss of priming by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5), which allows for subsequent phosphorylation by GSK3β. Based on the observation that the proportion of active CRMP2 is increased for up to 4 weeks following TBI, it was hypothesized that it may drive neurite outgrowth, and therefore, circuit reorganization during this time. Therefore, a novel small-molecule tool was used to target CRMP2 in an attempt to determine its importance in mossy fiber sprouting following TBI. In this report, we demonstrate novel differential regulation of CRMP2 phosphorylation by GSK3β and CDK5 following TBI.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
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    • "Other brain regions that are susceptible to injury, such as hippocampus and neocortex also undergo synaptic reorganization after TBI. For example, an increase in spontaneous and evoked burst discharges has been detected in neocortex of rats within 2 weeks after severe CCI injury (Yang et al., 2010). Although it is not known whether these changes are due to the formation of new excitatory circuits in neocortex or enhanced intrinsic excitability of existing circuits after injury, similar findings have been observed at similar time points after neocortical undercut (recently reviewed by Prince et al., 2012), which appear to be associated with an increase in excitatory synapses onto pyramidal neurons. "
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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) greatly increases the risk for a number of mental health problems and is one of the most common causes of medically intractable epilepsy in humans. Several models of TBI have been developed to investigate the relationship between trauma, seizures, and epilepsy-related changes in neural circuit function. These studies have shown that the brain initiates immediate neuronal and glial responses following an injury, usually leading to significant cell loss in areas of the injured brain. Over time, long-term changes in the organization of neural circuits, particularly in neocortex and hippocampus, lead to an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission and increased risk for spontaneous seizures. These include alterations to inhibitory interneurons and formation of new, excessive recurrent excitatory synaptic connectivity. Here, we review in vivo models of TBI as well as key cellular mechanisms of synaptic reorganization associated with post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). The potential role of inflammation and increased blood-brain barrier permeability in the pathophysiology of PTE is also discussed. A better understanding of mechanisms that promote the generation of epileptic activity versus those that promote compensatory brain repair and functional recovery should aid development of successful new therapies for PTE.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
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    • "At 24 hours post-trauma, a significant increase in the rate of spontaneous output was noted in Layer 4 and part of Layer 5. Such increases in non-evoked release are commonly reported in various types of TBI models [48]–[50], and have previously been linked to post-TBI hyperexcitability at 2–6 weeks post-injury [76]. The increase in spontaneous firing rate we report here is of particular significance, for two major reasons. "
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    ABSTRACT: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a blow to the head is often associated with complex patterns of brain abnormalities that accompany deficits in cognitive and motor function. Previously we reported that a long-term consequence of TBI, induced with a closed-head injury method modelling human car and sporting accidents, is neuronal hyper-excitation in the rat sensory barrel cortex that receives tactile input from the face whiskers. Hyper-excitation occurred only in supra-granular layers and was stronger to complex than simple stimuli. We now examine changes in the immediate aftermath of TBI induced with same injury method. At 24 hours post-trauma significant sensorimotor deficits were observed and characterisation of the cortical population neuronal responses at that time revealed a depth-dependent suppression of neuronal responses, with reduced responses from supragranular layers through to input layer IV, but not in infragranular layers. In addition, increased spontaneous firing rate was recorded in cortical layers IV and V. We postulate that this early post-injury suppression of cortical processing of sensory input accounts for immediate post-trauma sensory morbidity and sets into train events that resolve into long-term cortical hyper-excitability in upper sensory cortex layers that may account for long-term sensory hyper-sensitivity in humans with TBI.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · PLoS ONE
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