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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1997 Mar;44(2):179-90.

Increase in mRNAs encoding neonatal II and III sodium channel alpha-isoforms during kainate-induced seizures in adult rat hippocampus.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, Faculté de Médécine, Marseille, France.


Subtypes I, II and III of sodium channel alpha-subunit mRNAs were analyzed in adult rat brain areas after kainate-induced seizures. Tissue samples were microdissected from occipital neocortex, CA1 and CA3 hippocampus areas and dentate gyrus. Three reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocols were undertaken to amplify these mRNAs. Amplification products were then distinguished after digestion by restriction enzymes, electrophoresis separation and densitometric analysis of gel profiles. PCR 1 evidenced the relative percentage of mRNAs I, II and III as well as neonatal II and III subtype isoforms, which resulted from an alternative splicing. PCR 2 and 3 were performed to focus on the neonatal vs. adult ratio in II and III subtypes, respectively. Seizures were shown to induce an increase in both neonatal subtypes, which suggested an alteration at the splicing level. These changes exhibited a peculiar brain regional distribution, the maximal effect being observed in dentate gyrus and hippocampus CA1 area. In situ hybridization experiments, using a digoxigenin-labeled oligonucleotide probe-specific for neonatal II and III mRNAs, confirmed this increase in neonatal mRNA subtypes. These changes were transient, reaching a maximum 6 h after drug injection, then disappearing between 12 and 48 h. They were prevented by a pre-treatment of animals by MK-801, a non-competitive antagonist of NMDA receptors. This work, thus, suggested that KA-induced seizures can be accompanied by transient alteration in the splicing pattern of sodium channel alpha-subunit mRNAs which resulted in an increase in expression of their neonatal isoforms within localized areas of adult rat brain.

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