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Exp Neurol. 2012 Sep;237(1):199-206. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2012.06.013. Epub 2012 Jun 24.

A novel zebrafish model of hyperthermia-induced seizures reveals a role for TRPV4 channels and NMDA-type glutamate receptors.

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Epilepsy Research Laboratory, Department of Neurological Surgery, Biomedical Graduate Program, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Febrile seizures are the most common seizure type in children under the age of five, but mechanisms underlying seizure generation in vivo remain unclear. Animal models to address this issue primarily focus on immature rodents heated indirectly using a controlled water bath or air blower. Here we describe an in vivo model of hyperthermia-induced seizures in larval zebrafish aged 3 to 7 days post-fertilization (dpf). Bath controlled changes in temperature are rapid and reversible in this model. Acute electrographic seizures following transient hyperthermia showed age-dependence, strain independence, and absence of mortality. Electrographic seizures recorded in the larval zebrafish forebrain were blocked by adding antagonists to the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV4) channel or N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor to the bathing medium. Application of GABA, GABA re-uptake inhibitors, or TRPV1 antagonist had no effect on hyperthermic seizures. Expression of vanilloid channel and glutamate receptor mRNA was confirmed by quantitative PCR analysis at each developmental stage in larval zebrafish. Taken together, our findings suggest a role of heat-activation of TRPV4 channels and enhanced NMDA receptor-mediated glutamatergic transmission in hyperthermia-induced seizures.

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