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J Neurosci. 1993 Feb;13(2):744-51.

Induction of c-fos mRNA by kindled seizures: complex relationship with neuronal burst firing.

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Department of Medicine (Neurology), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


Expression of the immediate-early gene c-fos has been advanced as a marker of neuronal activity in the adult nervous system. We sought to test the validity of c-fos mRNA expression as a marker of neuronal activity during seizures and to elucidate specific neurotransmitter receptors whose activation was necessary for seizure-evoked c-fos mRNA expression. We correlated c-fos mRNA expression, measured with in situ hybridization, with kindled seizure-induced firing of hippocampal dentate granule cells or substantia nigra pars compacta and pars reticulata neurons. We found that the occurrence of seizure-evoked synchronous action potentials during the seizure exhibited a perfect qualitative correlation with the presence of c-fos mRNA expression in the granule cells 30 min following the seizure (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.002). However, there was no quantitative correlation between the number of seizure-induced population action potentials and the magnitude of c-fos mRNA expression in the granule cells. In the substantia nigra, where neuronal populations have previously been demonstrated to exhibit synchronous firing during kindled seizures, no induction of c-fos mRNA was detected in either pars compacta or pars reticulata. Pretreatment with antagonists of the NMDA subtype of glutamate receptor selectively and markedly decreased seizure-induced c-fos mRNA expression in the dentate granule cells, despite increasing the number of granule cell population action potentials. These findings illustrate the complexity of the relationship between c-fos induction and neuronal burst firing during kindled seizures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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