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Neurobiol Dis. 2010 Feb;37(2):461-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

Comorbidity between epilepsy and depression: role of hippocampal interleukin-1beta.

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Department of Pediatrics, Neurology Division, D. Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 22-474 MDCC, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1752, USA.


Depression is a frequent comorbidity of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE); however, its mechanisms remain poorly understood and effective therapies are lacking. Augmentation of hippocampal interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) signaling may be a mechanistic factor of both TLE and clinical depression. We examined whether pharmacological blockade of hippocampal interleukin-1 receptor exerts antidepressant effects in an animal model of comorbidity between TLE and depression, which developed in Wistar rats following pilocarpine status epilepticus (SE). In post-SE animals, depression-like state was characterized by behavioral equivalents of anhedonia and despair; dysregulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis; compromised raphe-hippocampal serotonergic transmission. Two-week long bilateral intrahippocampal infusion of human recombinant Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) improved all of the examined depressive impairments, without modifying spontaneous seizure frequency and without affecting normal parameters in naïve rats. These findings implicate hippocampal IL-1beta in epilepsy-associated depression and provide a rationale for the introduction of IL-1beta blockers in the treatment of depression in TLE.

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