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Neuroscience. 1992;48(2):315-24.

Induction of immediate early gene encoded proteins in the rat hippocampus after bicuculline-induced seizures: differential expression of KROX-24, FOS and JUN proteins.

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Institute of Neuropathology, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


Immunocytochemistry with specific antisera was used to assess regional levels of six immediate early gene encoded proteins (KROX-24, c-FOS, FOS B, c-JUN, JUN B and JUN D) in the rat hippocampus after 15 min of bicuculline-induced seizures. Serial sections of the dorsal hippocampus were examined at various postictal recovery periods up to 24 h. The results demonstrate a complex temporal and spatial pattern of immediate early gene synthesis and accumulation. Three major categories of immediate early gene products could best be distinguished in the dentate gyrus: KROX-24 and c-FOS showed a concurrent rapid rise with peak levels at 2 h and a return to baseline levels within 8 h after seizure termination. FOS B, c-JUN and JUN B levels increased more gradually with peak intensities in the dentate gyrus reached at 4 h. These immediate early gene products showed above normal levels in various hippocampal subpopulations up to 24 h. JUN D exhibited the most delayed onset combined with a prolonged increase of seizure-induced immunoreactivity. Irrespective of this differential temporal expression profile of individual transcription factors, the sequence of induction in the hippocampal subpopulations was identical for all immediate early gene-encoded proteins examined: first in the dentate gyrus granule cells followed by CA1 and CA3 neurons, respectively. Our data indicate an asynchronous synthesis of several immediate early gene-encoded proteins in the brain after status epilepticus. FOS and JUN proteins act via homo- or heterodimer complexes at the AP-1 and other DNA binding sites. The different time-courses for individual immediate early gene products strongly suggest, that at different time-points after status epilepticus, different AP-1 complexes are effective. In vitro studies have shown that different AP-1 complexes possess different DNA binding affinities as well as different transcriptional regulatory effects. Our results suggest that these molecular mechanisms are also effective in vivo.

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