In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (1)

Articles by Aya D. Pusic in JoVE

Other articles by Aya D. Pusic on PubMed

Pregnant Serum Induces Neuroinflammation and Seizure Activity Via TNFα

Experimental Neurology. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22281105

Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy that affects many organs including the brain. Neurological complications occur during preeclampsia, the most serious of which is seizure known as eclampsia. Although preeclampsia can precede the eclamptic seizure, it often occurs during normal pregnancy, suggesting that processes associated with normal pregnancy can promote neuronal excitability. Here we investigated whether circulating inflammatory mediators that are elevated late in gestation when seizure also occurs are hyperexcitable to neuronal tissue. Evoked field potentials were measured in hippocampal slices in which control horse serum that slices are normally grown in, was replaced with serum from nonpregnant or late-pregnant Wistar rats for 48h. We found that serum from pregnant, but not nonpregnant rats, caused hyperexcitability to hippocampal neurons and seizure activity that was abrogated by inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) signaling. Additionally, application of TNFα mimicked this increased excitability. Pregnant serum also caused morphological changes in microglia characteristic of activation, and increased TNFα mRNA expression that was not seen with exposure to nonpregnant serum. However, TNFα protein was not found to be elevated in pregnant serum itself, suggesting that other circulating factors during pregnancy caused activation of hippocampal slice cells to produce a TNFα-mediated increase in neuronal excitability. Lastly, although pregnant serum caused neuroinflammation and hyperexcitability of hippocampal slices, it did not increase blood-brain barrier permeability, nor were pregnant rats from which the serum was taken undergoing seizure. Thus, the BBB has an important role in protecting the brain from circulating neuroinflammatory mediators that are hyperexcitable to the brain during pregnancy. These studies provide novel insight into the underlying cause of eclampsia without elevated blood pressure and the protective role of the BBB that prevents exposure of the brain to hyperexcitable factors.

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