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J Neurochem. 2004 Jan;88(1):91-101.

Long-term alterations in glutamate receptor and transporter expression following early-life seizures are associated with increased seizure susceptibility.

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  • 1Division of Neurology, Pediatric Regional Epilepsy Program, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Prolonged seizures in early childhood are associated with an increased risk of development of epilepsy in later life. The mechanism(s) behind this susceptibility to later development of epilepsy is unclear. Increased synaptic activity during development has been shown to permanently alter excitatory neurotransmission and could be one of the mechanisms involved in this increased susceptibility to the development of epilepsy. In the present study we determine the effect of status-epilepticus induced by lithium/pilocarpine at postnatal day 10 (P10 SE) on the expression of glutamate receptor and transporter mRNAs in hippocampal dentate granule cells and protein levels in dentate gyrus of these animals in adulthood. The results revealed a decrease in glutamate receptor 2 (GluR2) mRNA expression and protein levels as well as an increase in protein levels for the excitatory amino acid carrier 1 (EAAC1) in P10 SE rats compared to controls. Expression of glutamate receptor 1 (GluR1) mRNA was decreased in both P10 SE rats and identically handled, lithium-injected littermate controls compared to naive animals, and GluR1 protein levels were significantly lower in lithium-controls than in naive rats, suggesting an effect of either the handling or the lithium on GluR1 expression. These changes in EAA receptors and transporters were accompanied by an increased susceptibility to kainic acid induced seizures in P10 SE rats compared to controls. The current data suggest that early-life status-epilepticus can result in permanent alterations in glutamate receptor and transporter gene expression, which may contribute to a lower seizure threshold.

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