Intestinal inflammation increases convulsant activity and reduces antiepileptic drug efficacy in a mouse model of epilepsy

Carmen De Caro, Antonio Leo, Valentina Nesci, Carla Ghelardini, Lorenzo di Cesare Mannelli, Pasquale Striano, Carmen Avagliano, Antonio Calignano, Paolo Mainardi, Andrew Constanti, Rita Citraro, Giovambattista De Sarro, Emilio Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We studied the effects of intestinal inflammation on pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced seizures in mice and the effects thereon of some antiepileptic and anti-inflammatory treatments to establish if a link may exist. The agents tested were: alpha-lactoalbumin (ALAC), a whey protein rich in tryptophan, effective in some animal models of epilepsy and on colon/intestine inflammation, valproic acid (VPA), an effective antiepileptic drug in this seizure model, mesalazine (MSZ) an effective aminosalicylate anti-inflammatory treatment against ulcerative colitis and sodium butyrate (NaB), a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) normally produced in the intestine by gut microbiota, important in maintaining gut health and reducing gut inflammation and oxidative stress. Intestinal inflammation was induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) administration for 6 days. Drug treatment was started on day 3 and lasted 11 days, when seizure susceptibility to PTZ was measured along with intestinal inflammatory markers (i.e. NF-κB, Iκ-Bα, COX-2, iNOS), histological damage, disease activity index (DAI) and SCFA concentration in stools. DSS-induced colitis increased seizure susceptibility and while all treatments were able to reduce intestinal inflammation, only ALAC and NaB exhibited significant antiepileptic properties in mice with induced colitis, while they were ineffective as antiepileptics at the same doses in control mice without colitis. Interestingly, in DSS-treated mice, VPA lost part of its antiepileptic efficacy in comparison to preventing seizures in non-DSS-treated mice while MSZ remained ineffective in both groups. Our study demonstrates that reducing intestinal inflammation through ALAC or NaB administration has specific anticonvulsant effects in PTZ-treated mice. Furthermore, it appears that intestinal inflammation may reduce the antiepileptic effects of VPA, although we confirm that it decreases seizure threshold in this group. Therefore, we suggest that intestinal inflammation may represent a valid antiepileptic target which should also be considered as a participating factor to seizure incidence in susceptible patients and also could be relevant in reducing standard antiepileptic drug efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13983
JournalSci. Rep.
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 27 2019

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