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Neuroscience. 1999;92(4):1367-75.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor infusion delays amygdala and perforant path kindling without affecting paired-pulse measures of neuronal inhibition in adult rats.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Kindling is an animal model of human temporal lobe epilepsy in which excitability in limbic structures is permanently enhanced by repeated stimulations. Kindling also increases the expression of nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor receptor messenger RNAs in both the hippocampus and cerebral cortex and causes structural changes in the hippocampus including hilar hypertrophy. We have recently shown that intraventricular nerve growth factor infusion enhances the development of kindling, whereas blocking nerve growth factor activity retards amygdaloid kindling. Furthermore, we have shown that nerve growth factor protects against kindling-induced hilar hypertrophy. The physiological role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in kindling is not as clear. Acute injection of brain-derived neurotrophic factor increases neuronal excitability and causes seizures, whereas chronic brain-derived neurotrophic factor infusion in rats slows hippocampal kindling. In agreement with the latter, we show here that intrahilar brain-derived neurotrophic factor infusion delays amygdala and perforant path kindling. In addition, we show that brain-derived neurotrophic factor, unlike nerve growth factor, does not protect against kindling-induced increases in hilar area. To test the hypothesis that brain-derived neurotrophic factor suppresses kindling by increasing inhibition above normal levels, we performed paired-pulse measures in the perforant path-dentate gyrus pathway. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor infused into the hippocampus had no effect on the stimulus intensity function (input/output curves); there was also no significant effect on paired-pulse inhibition. We then kindled the perforant path 10 days after the end of brain-derived neurotrophic factor treatment. Once again, kindling was retarded, showing that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor effect is long-lasting. These results indicate that prolonged in vivo infusion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor reduces, rather than increases, excitability without increasing inhibitory neuron function, at least as assessed by paired-pulse protocols. This effect may be mediated by long-lasting effects on brain-derived neurotrophic factor receptor regulation.

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