Expression analysis of metabotropic glutamate receptors I and III in mouse strains with different susceptibility to experimental temporal lobe epilepsy
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.