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J Neurochem. 2002 Mar;80(6):1029-38.

Decreased expression of glutamate transporters in genetic absence epilepsy rats before seizure occurrence.

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1
INSERM U433, Faculté de Médecine Laënnec, Lyon, France.

Abstract

In absence epilepsy, epileptogenic processes are suspected of involving an imbalance between GABAergic inhibition and glutamatergic excitation. Here, we describe alteration of the expression of glutamate transporters in rats with genetic absence (the Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg: GAERS). In these rats, epileptic discharges, recorded in the thalamo-cortical network, appear around 40 days after birth. In adult rats no alteration of the protein expression of the glutamate transporters was observed. In 30-day-old GAERS protein levels (quantified by western blot) were lower in the cortex by 21% and 35% for the glial transporters GLT1 and GLAST, respectively, and by 32% for the neuronal transporter EAAC1 in the thalamus compared to control rats. In addition, the expression and activity of GLAST were decreased by 50% in newborn GAERS cortical astrocytes grown in primary culture. The lack of modification of the protein levels of glutamatergic transporters in adult epileptic GAERS, in spite of mRNA variations (quantified by RT-PCR), suggests that they are not involved in the pathogeny of spike-and-wave discharges. In contrast, the alteration of glutamate transporter expression, observed before the establishment of epileptic discharges, could reflect an abnormal maturation of the glutamatergic neurone-glia circuitry.

PMID:
11953453
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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