Seizures increase the synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in forebrain areas, suggesting this neurotrophin has biological actions in epileptic tissue. The understanding of these actions requires information on the sites and extent of brain-derived neurotrophic factor production in areas involved in seizures onset and their spread. In this study, we investigated by immunocytochemistry the changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the hippocampus, entorhinal and perirhinal cortices of rats at increasing times after acute seizures eventually leading to spontaneous convulsions. We also tested the hypothesis that seizure-induced changes in brain-derived neurotrophic factor induce later modifications in neuropeptide Y expression by comparing, in each instance, their immunoreactive patterns. As early as 100 min after seizure induction, brain-derived neurotrophic factor immunoreactivity increased in CA1 pyramidal and granule neurons and in cells of layers II-III of the entorhinal cortex. At later times, immunoreactivity progressively decreased in somata while increasing in fibres in the hippocampus, the subicular complex and in specific layers of the entorhinal and perirhinal cortices. Changes in neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity were superimposed upon and closely followed those of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. One week after seizure induction, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide Y immunoreactivities were similar to controls in 50% of rats. In rats experiencing spontaneous convulsions, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide Y immunoreactivity was strongly enhanced in fibres in the hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus and in the temporal cortex. In the dentate gyms, changes in immunoreactivity depended on sprouting of mossy fibres as assessed by growth-associated protein-43- immunoreactivity. These modifications were inhibited by repeated anticonvulsant treatment with phenobarbital. The dynamic and temporally- linked alterations in brain-derived neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide Y in brain regions critically involved in epileptogenesis suggest a functional link between these two substances in the regulation of network excitability.
- Entorhinal and perirhinal cortices
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