Ethosuximide Affects Paired-Pulse Facilitation in Somatosensory Cortex of WAG\Rij Rats as a Model of Absence Seizure.
ABSTRACT: The interaction between somatosensory cortex and thalamus via a thalamocortical loop is a theory behind induction of absence epilepsy. Inside peri-oral somatosensory (S1po) and primary somatosensory forelimb (S1fl) regions, excitatory and inhibitory systems are not balanced and GABAergic inhibitory synapses seem to play a fundamental role in short-term plasticity alterations.We investigated the effects of Ethosuximide on presynaptic changes by utilizing paired-pulse stimulation that was recorded from somatosensory cortex in 18 WAG\Rij rats during epileptic activity. A twisted tripolar electrode including two stimulating electrodes and one recording electrode was implanted into the S1po and S1FL according to stereotaxic landmarks. Paired-pulses (200 µs, 100-1000 µA, 0.1 Hz) were applied to somatosensory cortex at 50, 100, 400, 500 ms inter-pulse intervals for 50 min period.The results showed that paired-pulse facilitation was significantly reduced at all intervals in all times, but compared to the control group of epileptic WAG/Rij rats (p<0.05), it was exceptional about the first 10 minutes after the injection. At the intervals of 50 and 100 ms, a remarkable PPD was found in second, third, fourth and fifth 10-min post injection.These experiments indicate that Ethosuximide has effects on presynaptic facilitation in somatosensory cortex inhibitory loops by alteration in GABA levels that leads to a markedly diminished PPF in paired-pulse stimulation.
Project description:Absence epilepsy is a common seizure disorder in children which can produce chronic psychosocial sequelae. Human patients and rat absence models show bilateral spike-wave discharges (SWD) in cortical regions. We employed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in rat absence models to detect abnormalities in white matter pathways connecting regions of seizure activity.We studied Wistar albino Glaxo rats of Rijswijk (WAG/Rij), genetic absence epilepsy rats of Strasbourg (GAERS), and corresponding nonepileptic control strains. Ex vivo DTI was performed at 9.4 T with diffusion gradients applied in 16 orientations. We compared fractional anisotropy (FA), perpendicular (lambda(perpendicular)) and parallel (lambda(||)) diffusivity between groups using t-maps and region of interest (ROI) measurements.Adult epileptic WAG/Rij rats exhibited a localized decrease in FA in the anterior corpus callosum. This area was confirmed by tractography to interconnect somatosensory cortex regions most intensely involved in seizures. This FA decrease was not present in young WAG/Rij rats before onset of SWD. GAERS, which have more severe SWD than WAG/Rij, exhibited even more pronounced callosal FA decreases. Reduced FA in the epileptic animals originated from an increased lambda(perpendicular) with no significant changes in lambda(||).Reduced FA with increased lambda(perpendicular) suggests that chronic seizures cause reduction in myelin or decreased axon fiber density in white matter pathways connecting regions of seizure activity. These DTI abnormalities may improve the understanding of chronic neurological difficulties in children suffering with absence epilepsy, and may also serve as a noninvasive biomarker for monitoring beneficial effects of treatment.
Project description:Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-based resting functional connectivity is well suited for measuring slow correlated activity throughout brain networks. Epilepsy involves chronic changes in normal brain networks, and recent work demonstrated enhanced resting fMRI connectivity between the hemispheres in childhood absence epilepsy. An animal model of this phenomenon would be valuable for investigating fundamental mechanisms and testing therapeutic interventions.We used fMRI-based resting functional connectivity for studying brain networks involved in absence epilepsy. Wistar Albino Glaxo rats from Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) exhibit spontaneous episodes of staring and unresponsiveness accompanied by spike-wave discharges (SWDs) resembling human absence seizures in behavior and electroencephalography (EEG). Simultaneous EEG-fMRI data in epileptic WAG/Rij rats in comparison to nonepileptic Wistar controls were acquired at 9.4 T. Regions showing cortical fMRI increases during SWDs were used to define reference regions for connectivity analysis to investigate whether chronic seizure activity is associated with changes in network resting functional connectivity.We observed high degrees of cortical-cortical correlations in all WAG/Rij rats at rest (when no SWDs were present), but not in nonepileptic controls. Strongest connectivity was seen between regions most intensely involved in seizures, mainly in the bilateral somatosensory and adjacent cortices. Group statistics revealed that resting interhemispheric cortical-cortical correlations were significantly higher in WAG/Rij rats compared to nonepileptic controls.These findings suggest that activity-dependent plasticity may lead to long-term changes in epileptic networks even at rest. The results show a marked difference between the epileptic and nonepileptic animals in cortical-cortical connectivity, indicating that this may be a useful interictal biomarker associated with the epileptic state.
Project description:Rats of the Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rij (WAG/Rij) strain show symptoms resembling human absence epilepsy. Thalamocortical neurons of WAG/Rij rats are characterized by an increased HCN1 expression, a negative shift in I h activation curve, and an altered responsiveness of I h to cAMP. We cloned HCN1 channels from rat thalamic cDNA libraries of the WAG/Rij strain and found an N-terminal deletion of 37 amino acids. In addition, WAG-HCN1 has a stretch of six amino acids, directly following the deletion, where the wild-type sequence (GNSVCF) is changed to a polyserine motif. These alterations were found solely in thalamus mRNA but not in genomic DNA. The truncated WAG-HCN1 was detected late postnatal in WAG/Rij rats and was not passed on to rats obtained from pairing WAG/Rij and non-epileptic August Copenhagen Irish rats. Heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes revealed 2.2-fold increased current amplitude of WAG-HCN1 compared to rat HCN1. While WAG-HCN1 channels did not have altered current kinetics or changed regulation by protein kinases, fluorescence imaging revealed a faster and more pronounced surface expression of WAG-HCN1. Using co-expression experiments, we found that WAG-HCN1 channels suppress heteromeric HCN2 and HCN4 currents. Moreover, heteromeric channels of WAG-HCN1 with HCN2 have a reduced cAMP sensitivity. Functional studies revealed that the gain-of-function of WAG-HCN1 is not caused by the N-terminal deletion alone, thus requiring a change of the N-terminal GNSVCF motif. Our findings may help to explain previous observations in neurons of the WAG/Rij strain and indicate that WAG-HCN1 may contribute to the genesis of absence seizures in WAG/Rij rats.
Project description:It has been demonstrated previously that exogenous ketone supplements such as ketone ester (KE) decreased absence epileptic activity in a well-studied animal model of human absence epilepsy, Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats. It is known that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-generated changes in inflammatory processes increase absence epileptic activity, while previous studies show that ketone supplement-evoked ketosis can modulate inflammatory processes. Thus, we investigated in the present study whether administration of exogenous ketone supplements, which were mixed with standard rodent chow (containing 10% KE + 10% ketone salt/KS, % by weight, KEKS) for 10 days, can modulate the LPS-evoked changes in absence epileptic activity in WAG/Rij rats. At first, KEKS food alone was administered and changes in spike-wave discharge (SWD) number, SWD time, discharge frequency within SWDs, blood glucose, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (?HB) levels, as well as body weight and sleep-waking stages were measured. In a separate experiment, intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of LPS (50 ?g/kg) alone and a cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 (COX-1 and COX-2) inhibitor indomethacin (10 mg/kg) alone, as well as combined IP injection of indomethacin with LPS (indomethacin + LPS) were applied in WAG/Rij rats to elucidate their influences on SWD number. In order to determine whether KEKS food can modify the LPS-evoked changes in SWD number, KEKS food in combination with IP LPS (50 ?g/kg) (KEKS + LPS), as well as KEKS food with IP indomethacin (10 mg/kg) and LPS (50 ?g/kg) (KEKS + indomethacin + LPS) were also administered. We demonstrated that KEKS food significantly increased blood ?HB levels and decreased not only the spontaneously generated absence epileptic activity (SWD number), but also the LPS-evoked increase in SWD number in WAG/Rij rats. Our results suggest that administration of exogenous ketone supplements (ketogenic foods) may be a promising therapeutic tool in the treatment of epilepsy.
Project description:Current treatments for epilepsy may control seizures, but have no known effects on the underlying disease. We sought to determine whether early treatment in a model of genetic epilepsy would reduce the severity of the epilepsy phenotype in adulthood.We used Wistar albino Glaxo rats of Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats, an established model of human absence epilepsy. Oral ethosuximide was given from age p21 to 5 months, covering the usual period in which seizures develop in this model (age approximately 3 months). Two experiments were performed: (1) cortical expression of ion channels Nav1.1, Nav1.6, and HCN1 (previously shown to be dysregulated in WAG/Rij) measured by immunocytochemistry in adult treated rats; and (2) electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings to measure seizure severity at serial time points after stopping the treatment.Early treatment with ethosuximide blocked changes in the expression of ion channels Nav1.1, Nav1.6, and HCN1 normally associated with epilepsy in this model. In addition, the treatment led to a persistent suppression of seizures, even after therapy was discontinued. Thus, animals treated with ethosuximide from age p21 to 5 months still had a marked suppression of seizures at age 8 months.These findings suggest that early treatment during development may provide a new strategy for preventing epilepsy in susceptible individuals. If confirmed with other drugs and epilepsy paradigms, the availability of a model in which epileptogenesis can be controlled has important implications both for future basic studies, and human therapeutic trials.
Project description:Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated cation (HCN) channels represent the molecular substrate of the hyperpolarization-activated inward current (I(h)). Although these channels act as pacemakers for the generation of rhythmic activity in the thalamocortical network during sleep and epilepsy, their developmental profile in the thalamus is not yet fully understood. Here we combined electrophysiological, immunohistochemical, and mathematical modeling techniques to examine HCN gene expression and I(h) properties in thalamocortical relay (TC) neurons of the dorsal part of the lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN) in an epileptic (WAG/Rij) compared to a non-epileptic (ACI) rat strain. Recordings of TC neurons between postnatal day (P) 7 and P90 in both rat strains revealed that I(h) was characterized by higher current density, more hyperpolarized voltage dependence, faster activation kinetics, and reduced cAMP-sensitivity in epileptic animals. All four HCN channel isoforms (HCN1-4) were detected in dLGN, and quantitative analyses revealed a developmental increase of protein expression of HCN1, HCN2, and HCN4 but a decrease of HCN3. HCN1 was expressed at higher levels in WAG/Rij rats, a finding that was correlated with increased expression of the interacting proteins filamin A (FilA) and tetratricopeptide repeat-containing Rab8b-interacting protein (TRIP8b). Analysis of a simplified computer model of the thalamic network revealed that the alterations of I(h) found in WAG/Rij rats compensate each other in a way that leaves I(h) availability constant, an effect that ensures unaltered cellular burst activity and thalamic oscillations. These data indicate that during postnatal developmental the hyperpolarizing shift in voltage dependency (resulting in less current availability) is compensated by an increase in current density in WAG/Rij thereby possibly limiting the impact of I(h) on epileptogenesis. Because HCN3 is expressed higher in young versus older animals, HCN3 likely does not contribute to alterations in I(h) in older animals.
Project description:The role of hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-modulated (HCN) channel isoforms and hyperpolarization-activated cation current (Ih) for seizure-related burst firing in thalamocortical (TC) neurons was investigated in a rat genetic model of absence epilepsy [Wistar Albino Glaxo rats, bred in Rijswijk (WAG/Rij)]. Burst discharges in TC neurons locked to seizure activity in vivo were prolonged during blockade of Ih by Cs+ and ZD7288 (4-ethylphenylamino-1,2-dimethyl-6-methylaminopyrimidinium chloride). In vitro analyses revealed a hyperpolarizing shift of half-maximal Ih activation (Vh) in WAG/Rij (Vh = -93.2 mV) compared with nonepileptic controls [August x Copenhagen-Irish (ACI) (Vh = -88.0 mV)]. This effect is explained by a shift of the responsiveness of Ih to cAMP toward higher concentrations in TC neurons from WAG/Rij, as revealed by application of 8-bromo-cAMP and the phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX. During blockade of adenylyl cyclase activity, Ih activation was similar in the two strains, whereas the difference in cAMP responsiveness persisted, thereby voting against different ambient cAMP levels between strains. Increasing the intracellular cAMP level and shifting Ih activation led to a change from burst to tonic firing mode in WAG/Rij but not in ACI rats. Furthermore, HCN1 expression was significantly increased on mRNA and protein levels, with no changes in HCN2-4 expression. In conclusion, there is an increase in HCN1 expression in the epileptic thalamus, associated with a decrease in cAMP responsiveness of Ih in TC neurons and resulting impairment to control the shift from burst to tonic firing, which, in turn, will prolong burst activity after recruitment of Ih during absence seizures.
Project description:The state of therapeutic ketosis can be achieved by using the ketogenic diet (KD) or exogenous ketone supplementation. It was suggested previously that the adenosinergic system may be involved in the mediating effect of KD on suppressing seizure activity in different types of epilepsies, likely by means of adenosine A1 receptors (A1Rs). Thus, we tested in the present study whether exogenous ketone supplements (ketone ester: KE, 2.5 g/kg/day; ketone salt/KS + medium chain triglyceride/MCT: KSMCT, 2.5 g/kg/day) applied sub-chronically (for 7 days) by intragastric gavage can modulate absence epileptic activity in genetically absence epileptic Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats. The number of spike-wave discharges (SWDs) significantly and similarly decreased after both KE and KSMCT treatment between 3rd and 7th days of gavage. Moreover, blood beta-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) levels were significantly increased alike after KE and KSMCT gavage, compared to control levels. The SWD number and βHB levels returned to the baseline levels on the first day without ketone supplementation. To determine whether A1Rs can modify ketone supplement-evoked changes in absence epileptic activity, we applied a non-pro-epileptic dose of a specific A1R antagonist DPCPX (1,3-dipropyl-8-cyclopentylxanthine) (intraperitoneal/i.p. 0.2 mg/kg) in combination with KSMCT (2.5 g/kg/day, gavage). As expected, DPCPX abolished the KSMCT-evoked decrease in SWD number. Thus, we concluded that application of exogenous ketone supplements may decrease absence epileptic activity in WAG/Rij rats. Moreover, our results suggest that among others the adenosinergic system, likely via A1Rs, may modulate the exogenous ketone supplements-evoked anti-seizure effects.
Project description:Transitions into primary generalized epileptic seizures occur abruptly and synchronously across the brain. Their potential triggers remain unknown. We used optogenetics to causally test the hypothesis that rhythmic population bursting of excitatory neurons in a local neocortical region can rapidly trigger absence seizures. Most previous studies have been purely correlational, and it remains unclear whether epileptiform events induced by rhythmic stimulation (e.g., sensory/electrical) mimic actual spontaneous seizures, especially regarding their spatiotemporal dynamics. In this study, we used a novel combination of intracortical optogenetic stimulation and microelectrode array recordings in freely moving WAG/Rij rats, a model of absence epilepsy with a cortical focus in the somatosensory cortex (SI). We report three main findings: 1) Brief rhythmic bursting, evoked by optical stimulation of neocortical excitatory neurons at frequencies around 10 Hz, induced seizures consisting of self-sustained spike-wave discharges (SWDs) for about 10% of stimulation trials. The probability of inducing seizures was frequency-dependent, reaching a maximum at 10 Hz. 2) Local field potential power before stimulation and response amplitudes during stimulation both predicted seizure induction, demonstrating a modulatory effect of brain states and neural excitation levels. 3) Evoked responses during stimulation propagated as cortical waves, likely reaching the cortical focus, which in turn generated self-sustained SWDs after stimulation was terminated. Importantly, SWDs during induced and spontaneous seizures propagated with the same spatiotemporal dynamics. Our findings demonstrate that local rhythmic bursting of excitatory neurons in neocortex at particular frequencies, under susceptible ongoing brain states, is sufficient to trigger primary generalized seizures with stereotypical spatiotemporal dynamics.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The cerebral cortex is permanently active during both awake and sleep states. This ongoing cortical activity has an impact on synaptic transmission and short-term plasticity. An activity pattern generated by the cortical network is a slow rhythmic activity that alternates up (active) and down (silent) states, a pattern occurring during slow wave sleep, anesthesia and even in vitro. Here we have studied 1) how network activity affects short term synaptic plasticity and, 2) how synaptic transmission varies in up versus down states. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Intracellular recordings obtained from cortex in vitro and in vivo were used to record synaptic potentials, while presynaptic activation was achieved either with electrical or natural stimulation. Repetitive activation of layer 4 to layer 2/3 synaptic connections from ferret visual cortex slices displayed synaptic augmentation that was larger and longer lasting in active than in silent slices. Paired-pulse facilitation was also significantly larger in an active network and it persisted for longer intervals (up to 200 ms) than in silent slices. Intracortical synaptic potentials occurring during up states in vitro increased their amplitude while paired-pulse facilitation disappeared. Both intracortical and thalamocortical synaptic potentials were also significantly larger in up than in down states in the cat visual cortex in vivo. These enhanced synaptic potentials did not further facilitate when pairs of stimuli were given, thus paired-pulse facilitation during up states in vivo was virtually absent. Visually induced synaptic responses displayed larger amplitudes when occurring during up versus down states. This was further tested in rat barrel cortex, where a sensory activated synaptic potential was also larger in up states. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results imply that synaptic transmission in an active cortical network is more secure and efficient due to larger amplitude of synaptic potentials and lesser short term plasticity.