Effects of cholinergic denervation on seizure development and neurotrophin messenger RNA regulation in rapid hippocampal kindling
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Intraventricular 192 IgG-saporin was used to induce a selective lesion of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in rats. When subjected to 40 rapid hippocampal kindling stimulations with 5-min intervals, these animals exhibited increased number of generalized seizures and a higher mean seizure grade in response to the first five stimulations, and required fewer stimuli to develop focal behavioural seizures, as compared to non-lesioned rats. In contrast, both groups showed similarly enhanced responsiveness when test stimulated four weeks later. Using in situ hybridization, cholinergic denervation was found to cause a significant decrease of basal brain-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA levels in the hippocampal formation and piriform cortex, whereas gene expression for nerve growth factor, neurotrophin-3, and TrkB and TrkC was unchanged. Four weeks after rapid kindling stimulations, basal levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA in the dentate granule cells were restored to normal in the lesioned rats, whereas neurotrophin-3 messenger RNA levels were decreased. No differences in the seizure-evoked levels of neurotrophin and Trk messenger RNAs were detected, except in the dentate granule cell layer, which had significantly higher brain-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA expression in the lesioned animals at 2 h. In conclusion, the basal forebrain cholinergic system (i) dampens the severity of recurring seizures induced by rapid hippocampal kindling stimulations, but has no effect on the subsequent delayed phase of epileptogenesis; and (ii) exerts a tonic stimulation of basal brain-derived neurotrophic factor messenger RNA levels in the hippocampal formation and piriform cortex. The findings also indicate that the cholinergic lesion does not affect neurotrophin and Trk gene expression after recurring seizures, and that the kindling process leads to long-term changes in basal brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin-3 messenger RNA levels in the denervated animals.