Kainic acid-induced albumin leak across the blood-brain barrier facilitates epileptiform hyperexcitability in limbic regions

Francesco M. Noé, Elisa Bellistri, Francesca Colciaghi, Barbara Cipelletti, Giorgio Battaglia, Marco de Curtis, Laura Librizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Systemic administration of kainic acid (KA) is a widely used procedure utilized to develop a model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Despite its ability to induce status epilepticus (SE) in vivo, KA applied to in vitro preparations induces only interictal-like activity and/or isolated ictal discharges. The possibility that extravasation of the serum protein albumin from the vascular compartment enhances KA-induced brain excitability is investigated here. Methods: Epileptiform activity was induced by arterial perfusion of 6 μm KA in the in vitro isolated guinea pig brain preparation. Simultaneous field potential recordings were carried out bilaterally from limbic (CA1, dentate gyrus [DG], and entorhinal cortex) and extralimbic regions (piriform cortex and neocortex). Blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown associated with KA-induced epileptiform activity was assessed by parenchymal leakage of intravascular fluorescein-isothiocyanate albumin. Seizure-induced brain inflammation was evaluated by western blot analysis of interleukin (IL)-1β expression in brain tissue. Results: KA infusion caused synchronized activity at 15-30 Hz in limbic (but not extralimbic) cortical areas, associated with a brief, single seizure-like event. A second bolus of KA, 60 min after the induction of the first ictal event, did not further enhance excitability. Perfusion of serum albumin between the two administrations of KA enhanced epileptiform discharges and allowed a recurrent ictal event during the second KA infusion. Significance: Our data show that arterial KA administration selectively alters the synchronization of limbic networks. However, KA is not sufficient to generate recurrent seizures unless serum albumin is co-perfused during KA administration. These findings suggest a role of serum albumin in facilitating acute seizure generation.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Beta-gamma activity
  • IL-1 beta
  • In vitro guinea pig brain preparation
  • Neuronal network synchronization
  • Status epilepticus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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