In this review, we summarize findings obtained in acute and chronic epilepsy models and in particular experiments that have revealed how neuronal networks in the limbic system-which is closely involved in the pathophysiogenesis of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE)-produce hypersynchronous discharges. MTLE is often associated with a typical pattern of brain damage known as mesial temporal sclerosis, and it is one of the most refractory forms of partial epilepsy in adults. Specifically, we will address the cellular and pharmacological features of abnormal electrographic events that, as in MTLE patients, can occur in in vivo and in vitro animal models; these include interictal and ictal discharges along with high-frequency oscillations. In addition, we will consider how different limbic structures made hyperexcitable by acute pharmacological manipulations interact during epileptiform discharge generation. We will also review the electrographic characteristics of two types of seizure onsets that are most commonly seen in human and experimental MTLE as well as in in vitro models of epileptiform synchronization. Finally, we will address the role played by neurosteroids in reducing epileptiform synchronization and in modulating epileptogenesis.
Rat brain slices comprising the perirhinal cortex (PC) and a portion of the lateral nucleus of the amygdala (LA), in standard medium, can generate synchronous oscillatory activity that is associated with action potential discharge and reflects the activation of glutamatergic and GABAergic receptors. We report here that similar synchronous oscillatory events are recorded in the PC in response to single-shock, electrical stimuli delivered in LA. In addition, we found that the latency of these responses progressively increased when the stimulus interval was varied from 10 to 1 s; for example, the response latency during stimuli delivered at 1 Hz was more than twofold longer than that seen during stimulation at 0.1 Hz. This prolongation in latency occurred after approximately 5 stimuli, attained a steady value after 24-35 stimuli, and recovered to control values 30 s after stimulation arrest. These frequency-dependent changes in latency continued to occur during NMDA receptor antagonism but weakened following application of GABAA and/or GABAB receptor blockers. Our findings identify a new type of short-term plasticity that is mediated by GABA receptor function and may play a role in decreasing neuronal network synchronization during repeated activation. We propose that this frequency-dependent adaptive mechanism influences the excitability of limbic networks, thus potentially controlling epileptiform synchronization.
The perirhinal cortex-which is interconnected with several limbic structures and is intimately involved in learning and memory-plays major roles in pathological processes such as the kindling phenomenon of epileptogenesis and the spread of limbic seizures. Both features may be relevant to the pathophysiology of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy that represents the most refractory adult form of epilepsy with up to 30% of patients not achieving adequate seizure control. Compared to other limbic structures such as the hippocampus or the entorhinal cortex, the perirhinal area remains understudied and, in particular, detailed information on its dysfunctional characteristics remains scarce; this lack of information may be due to the fact that the perirhinal cortex is not grossly damaged in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and in models mimicking this epileptic disorder. However, we have recently identified in pilocarpine-treated epileptic rats the presence of selective losses of interneuron subtypes along with increased synaptic excitability. In this review we: (i) highlight the fundamental electrophysiological properties of perirhinal cortex neurons; (ii) briefly stress the mechanisms underlying epileptiform synchronization in perirhinal cortex networks following epileptogenic pharmacological manipulations; and (iii) focus on the changes in neuronal excitability and cytoarchitecture of the perirhinal cortex occurring in the pilocarpine model of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Overall, these data indicate that perirhinal cortex networks are hyperexcitable in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy, and that this condition is associated with a selective cellular damage that is characterized by an age-dependent sensitivity of interneurons to precipitating injuries, such as status epilepticus.
Acute thrombus formation on disrupted atherosclerotic plaques plays a key role during the onset of acute coronary syndromes. Lesion disruption facilitates the interaction between circulating blood and prothrombotic substances, such as tissue factor (TF) present within the atherosclerotic lesion. For a long period of time, vessel-wall TF has been considered the major determinant of thrombosis. However, this old dogma has been recently changed owing to the discovery of a different pool of TF that circulates in flowing blood (blood-borne TF). Several studies have shown that blood-borne TF circulates in different pools that are associated with selected blood cells, such as monocytes, granulocytes and platelets in cell-derived microparticles, and as a soluble protein generated by alternative splicing of its full-length mRNA. Recent studies have identified a hypercoagulable state associated with an increased circulating TF activity, leading to the concept of vulnerable blood. Part of the blood-borne TF circulates in an inactive form and it is required to be activated to exert its thrombogenic potential. Certain pathological conditions, such as smoking, hyperlipidemia and diabetes, show a higher incidence of thrombotic complications. These conditions are also characterized by the presence of high levels of circulating TF activity. Recent evidence may also suggest that an increased circulating TF activity may potentiate the initial thrombogenic stimulus represented by vessel wall-associated TF, leading to the formation of larger and/or more stable thrombus, and thus more severe acute coronary syndromes. It has been reported that inflammation increases TF expression and activity by different cell types. On the other hand, TF upregulation may facilitate inflammation by enhancing intravascular fibrin deposition, formation of proinflammatory fragments of fibrin, and by generating coagulation proteases, including FVIIa, FXa and thrombin, that activate protease-activated receptors. Furthermore, the biology of TF is know known to be more complex than previously thought by the demonstration that this protein, apart from its known effects on blood coagulation, can also function as a signaling receptor.
Exposure to cholinergic agonists is a widely used paradigm to induce epileptogenesis in vivo and synchronous activity in brain slices maintained in vitro. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. Here, we used field potential recordings from the lateral entorhinal cortex in horizontal rat brain slices to explore whether two different K(+) currents regulated by muscarinic receptor activation, the inward rectifier (K(IR)) and the M-type (K(M)) currents, have a role in carbachol (CCh)-induced field activity, a prototypical model of cholinergic-dependent epileptiform synchronization. To establish whether K(IR) or K(M) blockade could replicate CCh effects, we exposed slices to blockers of these currents in the absence of CCh. K(IR) channel blockade with micromolar Ba(2+) concentrations induced interictal-like events with duration and frequency that were lower than those observed with CCh; by contrast, the K(M) blocker linopirdine was ineffective. Pre-treatment with Ba(2+) or linopirdine increased the duration of epileptiform discharges induced by subsequent application of CCh. Baclofen, a GABA(B) receptor agonist that activates K(IR), abolished CCh-induced field oscillations, an effect that was abrogated by the GABA(B) receptor antagonist CGP 55845, and prevented by Ba(2+). Finally, when applied after CCh, the K(M) activators flupirtine and retigabine shifted leftward the cumulative distribution of CCh-induced event duration; this effect was opposite to what seen during linopirdine application under similar experimental conditions. Overall, our findings suggest that K(IR) rather than K(M) plays a major regulatory role in controlling CCh-induced epileptiform synchronization.
We established the effects of the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) carbamazepine (CBZ), topiramate (TPM), and valproic acid (VPA) on the epileptiform activity induced by 4-aminopyridine (4AP) in the rat entorhinal cortex (EC) in an in vitro brain slice preparation.
Changes in GABA(B) receptor subunit expression have been recently reported in the neocortex of epileptic WAG/Rij rats that are genetically prone to experience absence seizures. These alterations may lead to hyperexcitability by downregulating the function of presynaptic GABA(B) receptors in neocortical networks as suggested by a reduction in paired-pulse depression. Here, we tested further this hypothesis by analyzing the effects induced by the GABA(B) receptor agonist baclofen (0.1-10 microM) on the inhibitory events recorded in vitro from neocortical slices obtained from epileptic (>180 day-old) WAG/Rij and age-matched, non-epileptic control (NEC) rats. We found that higher doses of baclofen were required to depress pharmacologically isolated, stimulus-induced IPSPs generated by WAG/Rij neurons as compared to NEC. We also obtained similar evidence by comparing the effects of baclofen on the rate of occurrence of synchronous GABAergic events recorded by WAG/Rij and NEC neocortical slices treated with 4-aminopyridine + glutamatergic receptor antagonists. In conclusion, these data highlight a decreased function of presynaptic GABA(B) receptors in the WAG/Rij rat neocortex. We propose that this alteration may contribute to neocortical hyperexcitability and thus to absence seizures.
4-Aminopyridine (4AP, 50 ?M) induces interictal- and ictal-like discharges in brain slices including parahippocampal areas such as the entorhinal cortex (EC) but the relation between these two types of epileptiform activity remains undifined. Here, by employing field potential recordings in rat EC slices during 4AP application, we found that: (i) interictal events have a wide range of duration (0.4-3.3 s) and interval of occurrence (1.4-84 s); (ii) ictal discharges are either preceded by an isolated "slow" interictal discharge (ISID; duration=1.5 ± 0.1s, interval of occurrence=33.8 ± 1.8 s) or suddenly initiate from a pattern of frequent polispike interictal discharge (FPID; duration=0.8 ± 0.1 s; interval of occurrence=2.7 ± 0.2 s); and (iii) ISID-triggered ictal events have longer duration (116 ± 7.3s) and interval of occurrence (425.8 ± 42.3 s) than those initiating suddenly during FPID (58.3 ± 7.8 s and 202.1 ± 21.8 s, respectively). Glutamatergic receptor antagonists abolished ictal discharges in all experiments, markedly reduced FPIDs but did not influence ISIDs. We also discovered that high-frequency oscillations (HFOs, 80-500 Hz) occur more frequently during ISIDs as compared to FPIDs, and mainly coincide with the onset of ISID-triggered ictal discharges. These findings indicate that interictal events may define ictal onset features resembling those seen in vivo in low-voltage fast activity onset seizures. We propose a similar condition to occur in vivo in temporal lobe epileptic patients and animal models.
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