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Brain Dev. 2013 Mar;35(3):252-60. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2012.04.007. Epub 2012 May 28.

Expression of TRPV1 in cortical lesions from patients with tuberous sclerosis complex and focal cortical dysplasia type IIb.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, 183 Xinqiao Main Street, Shapingba District, Chongqing 400037, China.


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and focal cortical dysplasia type IIb (FCDIIb) are recognized as causes of intractable epilepsy. Transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1), a member of the transient receptor potential family, is the capsaicin receptor and is known to be involved in peripheral nociception. Recent evidence suggested that TRPV1 may be a contributing factor in epileptogenicity. Here, we evaluated the expression of TRPV1 in the cortical lesions of TSC and FCDIIb relative to normal control cortex. TRPV1 was studied in epilepsy surgery cases with TSC (cortical tubers; n=12) and FCDIIb (n=12) using immunocytochemistry, confocal analysis, and Western blotting (WB). Immunohistochemical location of the TRPV1 was predominately detected in the abnormal cell types, such as dysmorphic neurons, balloon cells (BCs) and giant cells. Co-localization assays further revealed that cells expressing TRPV1 mainly had a neuronal lineage, apart from some BCs in FCDIIb, which obviously were of astrocytic lineage. The increased TRPV1 expression within the dysplastic cortex of TSC and FCDIIb was confirmed by WB. Interestingly, both immunohistochemical and WB data indicated that TRPV1 might have both cytoplasm and nuclear distribution, suggesting a potential nuclear role of TRPV1. The over-expression of TRPV1 in cortical lesions of TSC and FCDIIb suggested the possible involvement of TRPV1 in the intrinsic and increased epileptogenicity of malformations of cortical development associated epilepsy diseases and may represent a potential antiepileptogenic target. However, the current data are merely descriptive, and further electrophysiological investigation is needed in the future.

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