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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 1;21(15):5804-12.

Plasticity of Y1 and Y2 receptors and neuropeptide Y fibers in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Innsbruck, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Marked expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and its Y2 receptors in hippocampal mossy fibers has been reported in animal models of epilepsy. Because NPY can suppress glutamate release by activating presynaptic Y2 receptors, these changes have been proposed as an endogenous protective mechanism. Therefore, we investigated whether similar changes in the NPY system may also take place in human epilepsy. We investigated Y1 and Y2 receptor binding and NPY immunoreactivity in hippocampal specimens that were obtained at surgery from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and in autopsy controls. Significant increases in Y2 receptor binding (by 43-48%) were observed in the dentate hilus, sectors CA1 to CA3, and subiculum of specimens with, but not in those without, hippocampal sclerosis. On the other hand, Y1 receptor binding was significantly reduced (by 62%) in the dentate molecular layer of sclerotic specimens. In the same patients, the total lengths of NPY immunoreactive (NPY-IR) fibers was markedly increased (by 115-958%) in the dentate molecular layer and hilus, in the stratum lucidum of CA3, and throughout sectors CA1 to CA3 and the subiculum, as compared with autopsies. In nonsclerotic specimens, increases in lengths of NPY-IR fibers were more moderate and statistically not significant. NPY mRNA was increased threefold in hilar interneurons of sclerotic and nonsclerotic specimens. It is suggested that abundant sprouting of NPY fibers, concomitant upregulation of Y2 receptors, and downregulation of Y1 receptors in the hippocampus of patients with Ammon's horn sclerosis may be endogenous anticonvulsant mechanisms.

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