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J Neurophysiol. 2013 Sep;110(5):1144-57. doi: 10.1152/jn.00383.2013. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Evidence for a role of Nav1.6 in facilitating increases in neuronal hyperexcitability during epileptogenesis.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0710, USA.


During epileptogenesis a series of molecular and cellular events occur, culminating in an increase in neuronal excitability, leading to seizure initiation. The entorhinal cortex has been implicated in the generation of epileptic seizures in both humans and animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy. This hyperexcitability is due, in part, to proexcitatory changes in ion channel activity. Sodium channels play an important role in controlling neuronal excitability, and alterations in their activity could facilitate seizure initiation. We sought to investigate whether medial entorhinal cortex (mEC) layer II neurons become hyperexcitable and display proexcitatory behavior of Na channels during epileptogenesis. Experiments were conducted 7 days after electrical induction of status epilepticus (SE), a time point during the latent period of epileptogenesis and before the onset of seizures. mEC layer II stellate neurons from post-SE animals were hyperexcitable, eliciting action potentials at higher frequencies compared with control neurons. Na channel currents recorded from post-SE neurons revealed increases in Na current amplitudes, particularly persistent and resurgent currents, as well as depolarized shifts in inactivation parameters. Immunocytochemical studies revealed increases in voltage-gated Na (Nav) 1.6 isoform levels. The toxin 4,9-anhydro-tetrodotoxin, which has greater selectivity for Nav1.6 over other Na channel isoforms, suppressed neuronal hyperexcitability, reduced macroscopic Na currents, persistent and resurgent Na current densities, and abolished depolarized shifts in inactivation parameters in post-SE neurons. These studies support a potential role for Nav1.6 in facilitating the hyperexcitability of mEC layer II neurons during epileptogenesis.


entorhinal cortex; sodium channels; status epilepticus

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