Intrinsic Inflammation Is a Potential Anti-Epileptogenic Target in the Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Model

Seon-Ah Chong, Silvia Balosso, Catherine Vandenplas, Gregory Szczesny, Etienne Hanon, Kasper Claes, Xavier Van Damme, Bénédicte Danis, Jonathan Van Eyll, Christian Wolff, Annamaria Vezzani, Rafal M Kaminski, Isabelle Niespodziany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the mechanisms of epileptogenesis is essential to develop novel drugs that could prevent or modify the disease. Neuroinflammation has been proposed as a promising target for therapeutic interventions to inhibit the epileptogenic process that evolves from traumatic brain injury. However, it remains unclear whether cytokine-related pathways, particularly TNFα signaling, have a critical role in the development of epilepsy. In this study, we investigated the role of innate inflammation in an in vitro model of post-traumatic epileptogenesis. We combined organotypic hippocampal slice cultures, representing an in vitro model of post-traumatic epilepsy, with multi-electrode array recordings to directly monitor the development of epileptiform activity and to examine the concomitant changes in cytokine release, cell death, and glial cell activation. We report that synchronized ictal- and interictal-like activities spontaneously evolve in this culture. Dynamic changes in the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNFα, and IL-6 were observed throughout the culture period (3 to 21 days in vitro) with persistent activation of microglia and astrocytes. We found that neutralizing TNFα with a polyclonal antibody significantly reduced ictal discharges, and this effect lasted for 1 week after antibody washout. Neither phenytoin nor an anti-IL-6 polyclonal antibody was efficacious in inhibiting the development of epileptiform activity. Our data show a sustained effect of the anti-TNFα antibody on the ictal progression in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures supporting the critical role of inflammatory mediators in epilepsy and establishing a proof-of-principle evidence for the utility of this preparation to test the therapeutic effects of anti-inflammatory treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-488
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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