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Brain Res. 2001 Mar 16;894(2):209-17.

Decreased epileptic susceptibility correlates with neuropeptide Y overexpression in a model of tolerance to excitotoxicity.

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Laboratory of Experimental and Clinical Epileptology, University of Bordeaux 2, BP 78, 146, rue Lèo-Saignat, 33076, Bordeaux, France.


Prior epileptic episodes have been shown to decrease markedly the neuronal damage induced by a second epileptic episode, similar to the tolerance following an episode of mild ischemia. Endogenous neuroprotective effects mediated by various mechanisms have been put forward. This study investigated whether neuroprotection against the excitotoxic damage induced by re-exposure to an epileptic challenge can reflect a change in epileptic susceptibility. Tolerance was elicited in rats by a preconditioning session using intrahippocampal kainic acid (KA) administration followed at 1, 7 and 15-day intervals by a subsequent intraventricular KA injection. The degree of pyramidal cell loss in the vulnerable CA3 subfield contralateral to the KA-injected hippocampus was extensively reduced in animals experiencing KA ventricular administration. This neuroprotection was highly significant 1 and 7 days after injection, but not 15 days after injection. In preconditioned animals, the after-discharge threshold was assessed as an index of epileptic susceptibility. It increased significantly from 1 to 15 days after intrahippocampal KA administration. Finally, an enhancement of neuropeptide Y expression in both non-principal cells and mossy fibers was detected, occurring at the same time as the decrease in epileptic susceptibility. These results provide further evidence of an 'epileptic tolerance' as shown by the substantial neuroprotective effect of a prior episode of epileptic activity upon subsequent epileptic insult and suggest that the prevention of excitotoxic damage after preconditioning results from an endogenous neuroprotective mechanism against hyperexcitability and seizures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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