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Eur J Neurosci. 2000 Jul;12(7):2623-33.

Inflammatory cytokines and related genes are induced in the rat hippocampus by limbic status epilepticus.

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Laboratory of Inflammation and Nervous System Diseases and Laboratory of Experimental Neurology, Department of Neuroscience, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milano, Italy.


Limbic status epilepticus was induced in rats by unilateral 60-min electrical stimulation of the CA3 region of the ventral hippocampus. As assessed by RT-PCR followed by Southern blot analysis, transcripts of interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist and inducible nitric oxide synthase were significantly increased 2 h after status epilepticus in the stimulated hippocampus. Induction was maximal at 6 h for interleukin-1beta (445%), interleukin-6 (405%) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (264%) and at 24 h for interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (494%) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (432%). In rats with spontaneous seizures (60 days after status epilepticus), interleukin-1beta mRNA was still higher than controls (241%). Immunocytochemical staining of interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha was enhanced in glia with a time-course similar to that of the respective transcripts. Sixty days after status epilepticus, interleukin-1beta immunoreactivity was increased exclusively in neurons in one third of the animals. Multiple intracerebroventricular injections of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (0.5 microg/3 microL) significantly decreased the severity of behavioural convulsions during electrical stimulation and selectively reduced tumour necrosis factor-alpha content in the hippocampus measured 18 h after status epilepticus. Thus, the induction of spontaneously recurring seizures in rats involves the activation of inflammatory cytokines and related pro- and anti-inflammatory genes in the hippocampus. These changes may play an active role in hyperexcitability of the epileptic tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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