Temporal lobe epilepsy remains amongst the most common and drug refractory of neurological disorders. Gene therapy may provide a realistic therapeutic approach alternative to surgery for intractable focal epilepsies. To test this hypothesis, we applied here a gene therapy approach, using a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector expressing the human neuropeptide Y (NPY) gene, to a progressive and spontaneous seizure model of temporal lobe epilepsy induced by electrical stimulation of the temporal pole of the hippocampus, which replicates many features of the human condition. rAAV-NPY or a control vector lacking the expression cassette (rAAV-Empty) was delivered into the epileptic rat hippocampi at an early progressive stage of the disease. Chronic epileptic rats were video-EEG monitored to establish pre-injection baseline recordings of spontaneous seizures and the effect of rAAV-NPY versus rAAV-Empty vector injection. Both non-injected stimulated controls and rAAV-empty injected rats showed a similar progressive increase of spontaneous seizure frequency consistent with epileptogenesis. The delivery of rAAV-NPY in epileptic rat brain leads to a remarkable decrease in the progression of seizures as compared to both control groups and this effect was correlated with the NPY over-expression in the hippocampus. Moreover, spontaneous seizure frequency was significantly reduced in 40% of treated animals as compared to their pre-injection baseline. Our data show that this gene therapy strategy decreases spontaneous seizures and suppresses their progression in chronic epileptic rats, thus representing a promising new therapeutic strategy.
- Adeno-associated viral vectors
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