Zebrafish as a Model for Epilepsy-Induced Cognitive Dysfunction: A Pharmacological, Biochemical and Behavioral Approach.
ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is a neuronal disorder allied with distinct neurological and behavioral alterations characterized by recurrent spontaneous epileptic seizures. Impairment of the cognitive performances such as learning and memory is frequently observed in epileptic patients. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are efficient to the majority of patients. However, 30% of this population seems to be refractory to the drug treatment. These patients are not seizure-free and frequently they show impaired cognitive functions. Unfortunately, as a side effect, some AEDs could contribute to such impairment. The major problem associated with conducting studies on epilepsy-related cognitive function is the lack of easy, rapid, specific and sensitive in vivo testing models. However, by using a number of different techniques and parameters in the zebrafish, we can incorporate the unique feature of specific disorder to study the molecular and behavior basis of this disease. In the view of current literature, the goal of the study was to develop a zebrafish model of epilepsy induced cognitive dysfunction. In this study, the effect of AEDs on locomotor activity and seizure-like behavior was tested against the pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) induced seizures in zebrafish and epilepsy associated cognitive dysfunction was determined using T-maze test followed by neurotransmitter estimation and gene expression analysis. It was observed that all the AEDs significantly reversed PTZ induced seizure in zebrafish, but had a negative impact on cognitive functions of zebrafish. AEDs were found to modulate neurotransmitter levels, especially GABA, glutamate, and acetylcholine and gene expression in the drug treated zebrafish brains. Therefore, combination of behavioral, neurochemical and genenetic information, makes this model a useful tool for future research and discovery of newer and safer AEDs.
Project description:Purpose of the research: Epilepsy is a continuous process of neurodegeneration categorized by an enduring tendency to generate uncontrolled electrical firing known as seizures causing involuntary movement all over the body. Cognitive impairment and behavioral disturbances are among the more alarming co-morbidities of epilepsy. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) were found to be successful in controlling epilepsy but are reported to worsen cognitive status in patients. Embelin (EMB) is a benzoquinone derived from the plant Embelia ribes and is reported to have central nervous system (CNS) activity. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of EMB against pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) induced acute seizures and its associated cognitive dysfunction. This was done via docking studies as well as evaluating neurotransmitter and gene expression in the zebrafish brain. The principal results: Behavioral observations showed that EMB reduced epileptic seizures and the T-maze study revealed that EMB improved the cognitive function of the fish. The docking study of EMB showed a higher affinity toward gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAA) receptor as compared to the standard diazepam, raising the possibility of EMB working via the alpha subunit of the GABA receptor. EMB was found to modulate several genes, neurotransmitters, and also neuronal growth, all of which play an important role in improving cognitive status after epileptic seizures. Healthy zebrafish treated with EMB alone were found to have no behavioral and biochemical interference or side effects. The immunohistochemistry data suggested that EMB also promotes neuronal protection and neuronal migration in zebrafish brains. Major Conclusions: It was perceived that EMB suppresses seizure-like behavior via GABAA receptor pathway and has a positive impact on cognitive functions. The observed effect was supported by docking study, T-maze behavior, neurotransmitter and gene expression levels, and immunohistology study. The apparatus such as the T-maze and seizure scoring behavior tank were found to be a straightforward technique to score seizure and test learning ability after acute epileptic seizures. These research findings suggest that EMB could be a promising molecule for epilepsy induced learning and memory dysfunction.
Project description:Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) is a common convulsant agent used in animal models to investigate the mechanisms of seizures. Although adult zebrafish have been recently used to study epileptic seizures, a thorough characterization of the PTZ-induced seizures in this animal model is missing. The goal of this study was to perform a detailed temporal behavior profile characterization of PTZ-induced seizure in adult zebrafish. The behavioral profile during 20 min of PTZ immersion (5, 7.5, 10, and 15 mM) was characterized by stages defined as scores: (0) short swim, (1) increased swimming activity and high frequency of opercular movement, (2) erratic movements, (3) circular movements, (4) clonic seizure-like behavior, (5) fall to the bottom of the tank and tonic seizure-like behavior, (6) death. Animals exposed to distinct PTZ concentrations presented different seizure profiles, intensities and latencies to reach all scores. Only animals immersed into 15 mM PTZ showed an increased time to return to the normal behavior (score 0), after exposure. Total mortality rate at 10 and 15 mM were 33% and 50%, respectively. Considering all behavioral parameters, 5, 7.5, 10, and 15 mM PTZ, induced seizures with low, intermediate, and high severity, respectively. Pretreatment with diazepam (DZP) significantly attenuated seizure severity. Finally, the brain PTZ levels in adult zebrafish immersed into the chemoconvulsant solution at 5 and 10 mM were comparable to those described for the rodent model, with a peak after a 20-min of exposure. The PTZ brain levels observed after 2.5-min PTZ exposure and after 60-min removal from exposure were similar. Altogether, our results showed a detailed temporal behavioral characterization of a PTZ epileptic seizure model in adult zebrafish. These behavioral analyses and the simple method for PTZ quantification could be considered as important tools for future investigations and translational research.
Project description:It has been demonstrated that the zebrafish model of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-evoked seizures and the well-established rodent models of epilepsy are similar pertaining to behavior, electrographic features, and c-fos expression. Although this zebrafish model is suitable for studying seizures, to date, inflammatory response after seizures has not been investigated using this model. Because a relationship between epilepsy and inflammation has been established, in the present study we investigated the transcript levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta (il1b) and cyclooxygenase-2 (cox2a and cox2b) after PTZ-induced seizures in the brain of zebrafish 7 days post fertilization. Furthermore, we exposed the fish to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin prior to PTZ, and we measured its effect on seizure latency, number of seizure behaviors, and mRNA expression of il1b, cox2b, and c-fos. We used quantitative real-time PCR to assess the mRNA expression of il1b, cox2a, cox2b, and c-fos, and visual inspection was used to monitor seizure latency and the number of seizure-like behaviors.We found a short-term upregulation of il1b, and we revealed that cox2b, but not cox2a, was induced after seizures. Indomethacin treatment prior to PTZ-induced seizures downregulated the mRNA expression of il1b, cox2b, and c-fos. Moreover, we observed that in larvae exposed to indomethacin, seizure latency increased and the number of seizure-like behaviors decreased.This is the first study showing that il1b and cox-2 transcripts are upregulated following PTZ-induced seizures in zebrafish. In addition, we demonstrated the anticonvulsant effect of indomethacin based on (1) the inhibition of PTZ-induced c-fos transcription, (2) increase in seizure latency, and (3) decrease in the number of seizure-like behaviors. Furthermore, anti-inflammatory effect of indomethacin is clearly demonstrated by the downregulation of the mRNA expression of il1b and cox2b. Our results are supported by previous evidences suggesting that zebrafish is a suitable alternative for studying inflammation, seizures, and the effect of anti-inflammatory compounds on seizure suppression.
Project description:There is a high need for the development of new and improved antiseizure drugs (ASDs) to treat epilepsy. Despite the potential of marine natural products (MNPs), the EU marine biodiscovery consortium PharmaSea has made the only effort to date to perform ASD discovery based on large-scale screening of MNPs. To this end, the embryonic zebrafish photomotor response assay and the larval zebrafish pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) model were used to screen MNP extracts for neuroactivity and antiseizure activity, respectively. Here we report the identification of the two known isoquinoline alkaloids TMC-120A and TMC-120B as novel antiseizure compounds, which were isolated by bioactivity-guided purification from the marine-derived fungus Aspergillus insuetus. TMC-120A and TMC-120B were observed to significantly lower PTZ-induced seizures and epileptiform brain activity in the larval zebrafish PTZ seizure model. In addition, their structural analogues TMC-120C, penicisochroman G, and ustusorane B were isolated and also significantly lowered PTZ-induced seizures. Finally, TMC-120A and TMC-120B were investigated in a mouse model of drug-resistant focal seizures. Compound treatment significantly shortened the seizure duration, thereby confirming their antiseizure activity. These data underscore the possibility to translate findings in zebrafish to mice in the field of epilepsy and the potential of the marine environment for ASD discovery.
Project description:Epilepsy is a neuronal dysfunction syndrome characterized by transient and diffusely abnormal discharges of neurons in the brain. Previous studies have shown that mutations in the syntaxin 1b (stx1b) gene cause a familial, fever-associated epilepsy syndrome. It is unclear as to whether the stx1b gene also correlates with other stimulations such as flashing and/or mediates the effects of antiepileptic drugs. In this study, we found that the expression of stx1b was present mainly in the brain and was negatively correlated with seizures in a pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizure zebrafish model. The transcription of stx1b was inhibited by PTZ but rescued by valproate, a broad-spectrum epilepsy treatment drug. In the PTZ-seizure zebrafish model, stx1b knockdown aggravated larvae hyperexcitatory swimming and prompted abnormal trajectory movements, particularly under lighting stimulation; at the same time, the expression levels of the neuronal activity marker gene c-fos increased significantly in the brain. In contrast, stx1b overexpression attenuated seizures and decreased c-fos expression levels following PTZ-induced seizures in larvae. Thus, we speculated that a deficiency of stx1b gene expression may be related with the onset occurrence of clinical seizures, particularly photosensitive seizures. In addition, we found that berberine (BBR) reduced larvae hyperexcitatory locomotion and abnormal movement trajectory in a concentration-dependent manner, slowed down excessive photosensitive seizure-like swimming, and assisted in the recovery of the expression levels of STX1B. Under the downregulation of STX1B, BBR's roles were limited: specifically, it only slightly regulated the levels of the two genes stx1b and c-fos and the hyperexcitatory motion of zebrafish in dark conditions and had no effect on the overexcited swimming behavior seen in conjunction with lighting stimulation. These findings further demonstrate that STX1B protein levels are negatively correlated with a seizure and can decrease the sensitivity of the photosensitive response in a PTZ-induced seizure zebrafish larvae; furthermore, STX1B may partially mediate the anticonvulsant effect of BBR. Additional investigation regarding the relationship between STX1B, BBR, and seizures could provide new cues for the development of novel anticonvulsant drugs.
Project description:The etiology of epilepsy is a very complicated, multifactorial process that is not completely understood. Therefore, the availability of epilepsy animal models induced by different mechanisms is crucial in advancing our knowledge and developing new therapeutic regimens for this disorder. Considering the advantages of zebrafish, we have developed a seizure model in zebrafish larvae using ginkgotoxin, a neurotoxin naturally occurring in Ginkgo biloba and hypothesized to inhibit the formation of the neurotransmitter ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA). We found that a 2-hour exposure to ginkgotoxin induced a seizure-like behavior in zebrafish larvae. This seizure-like swimming pattern was alleviated by the addition of either pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) or GABA and responded quickly to the anti-convulsing activity of gabapentin and phenytoin, two commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Unexpectedly, the ginkgotoxin-induced PLP depletion in our experimental setting did not affect the homeostasis of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism, another metabolic pathway playing a crucial role in neural function that also relies on the availability of PLP. This ginkgotoxin-induced seizure behavior was also relieved by primidone, which had been tested on a pentylenetetrazole-induced zebrafish seizure model but failed to rescue the seizure phenotype, highlighting the potential use and complementarity of this ginkgotoxin-induced seizure model for AED development. Structural and morphological characterization showed that a 2-hour ginkgotoxin exposure did not cause appreciable changes in larval morphology and tissues development. In conclusion, our data suggests that this ginkgotoxin-induced seizure in zebrafish larvae could serve as an in vivo model for epileptic seizure research and potential AED screening.
Project description:This study aims to evaluate the overall prognosis, prognostic factors, and efficacy of treatment in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE-HS) who have access to third generation anti-epileptic drugs but not to epilepsy surgery. Eighty-five MTLE-HS patients were retrospectively placed into a seizure-free (seizure-free for >1year) or drug-resistant group, and the two groups were compared on the basis of age, sex, age at onset of seizures, duration of epilepsy, side of lesion, handedness, EEG findings, history of CNS infection, history of febrile convulsions, history of head trauma, history of cognitive impairment, family history of seizures, number of current anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), total number of AED trials, and presence of individual AEDs. Only 24.7% of MTLE-HS patients had achieved seizure freedom for >1 year. Poor prognosis and drug-resistance were associated with younger age at onset of seizures (p=0.002), longer duration of epilepsy (p=0.018), greater number of current AEDs (p<0.001), and greater total number of AED trials (p<0.001). In addition, regimens with newer AEDs had no greater efficacy than regimens with older AEDs. Most medically managed MTLE-HS patients do not achieve seizure freedom despite multiple AED trials, and treatment with third generation AEDs should not preclude evaluation for epilepsy surgery.
Project description:Seizures are characterized by hypersynchronization of neuronal networks. Understanding these networks could provide a critical window for therapeutic control of recurrent seizure activity, i.e., epilepsy. However, imaging seizure networks has largely been limited to microcircuits in vitro or small "windows" in vivo. Here, we combine fast confocal imaging of genetically encoded calcium indicator (GCaMP)-expressing larval zebrafish with local field potential (LFP) recordings to study epileptiform events at whole-brain and single-neuron levels in vivo. Using an acute seizure model (pentylenetetrazole, PTZ), we reliably observed recurrent electrographic ictal-like events associated with generalized activation of all major brain regions and uncovered a well-preserved anterior-to-posterior seizure propagation pattern. We also examined brain-wide network synchronization and spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activity in the optic tectum microcircuit. Brain-wide and single-neuronal level analysis of PTZ-exposed and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-exposed zebrafish revealed distinct network dynamics associated with seizure and non-seizure hyperexcitable states, respectively. Neuronal ensembles, comprised of coactive neurons, were also uncovered during interictal-like periods. Taken together, these results demonstrate that macro- and micro-network calcium motifs in zebrafish may provide a greater understanding of epilepsy.
Project description:AIMS:Epileptic seizures are well-known neurological complications following stroke, occurring in 3% of patients. However, the intrinsic correlation of seizures with stroke remains largely unknown. Hydrogen sulfide (H2 S) is a gas transmitter that may mediate cerebral ischemic injury. But the role of H2 S in seizures has not been understood yet. We examined the effect of H2 S on seizure-like events (SLEs) and underlying mechanisms. METHODS AND RESULTS:Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)- and pilocarpine-induced rat epileptic seizure models were tested. Low-Mg(2+) /high-K(+) - and 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-induced epileptic seizure models were examined using patch-clamp recordings in brain slices. It was found that NaHS aggravated both PTZ- and pilocarpine-induced SLEs in rats, while both low-Mg(2+) /high-K(+) - and 4-AP-induced SLEs were also exacerbated by NaHS in brain slices, which may be due to its regulation on the voltage-gated sodium channel, N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor (NMDAR), and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor (AMPAR) function. Furthermore, these effects were reversed by blocking voltage-gated sodium channel, NMDAR, and AMPAR. CONCLUSIONS:These results suggest a pathological role of increased H2 S level in SLEs in vivo and in vitro. Enzymes that control H2 S biosynthesis could be interesting targets for antiepileptic strategies in poststroke epilepsy treatment.
Project description:Epilepsy is a significant contributor to worldwide disability. In epilepsy, disability can be broadly divided into two components: ictal (pertaining to the burden of unpredictable seizures and associated medical complications including death) and interictal (pertaining to more pervasive debilitating changes in cognitive and emotional behavior). In this study, we objectively and noninvasively appraise aspects of ictal and interictal behavior in mice using instrumented home-cage chambers designed to assay kinematic and appetitive behavioral measures. Through daily intraperitoneal injections of the chemoconvulsant pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) applied to C57BL/6J mice, we coordinately measure how "behavioral severity" (complex dynamic changes in movement and sheltering behavior) and convulsive severity (latency and occurrence of convulsive seizures) evolve or kindle with repeated injections. By closely studying long epochs between PTZ injections, we identify an interictal syndrome of nocturnal hypoactivity and increased sheltering behavior which remits with the cessation of seizure induction. We observe elements of this interictal behavioral syndrome in seizure-prone DBA/2J mice and in mice with a pathogenic Scn1a mutation (modeling Dravet syndrome). Through analyzing their responses to PTZ, we illustrate how convulsive severity and "behavioral" severity are distinct and independent aspects of the overall severity of a PTZ-induced seizure. Our results illustrate the utility of an ethologically centered automated approach to quantitatively appraise murine expressions of disability in mouse models of seizures and epilepsy. In doing so, this study highlights the very unique psychopharmacological profile of PTZ.