In the brain, seizures lead to release of large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids including arachidonic acid (ARA). ARA is a substrate for three major enzymatic routes of metabolism by cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and cytochrome P450 enzymes. These enzymes convert ARA to potent lipid mediators including prostanoids, leukotrienes and epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs). The prostanoids and leukotrienes are largely pro-inflammatory molecules that sensitize neurons whereas EETs are anti-inflammatory and reduce the excitability of neurons. Recent evidence suggests a GABA-related mode of action potentially mediated by neurosteroids. Here we tested this hypothesis using models of chemically induced seizures. The level of EETs in the brain was modulated by inhibiting the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), the major enzyme that metabolizes EETs to inactive molecules, by genetic deletion of sEH and by direct administration of EETs into the brain. All three approaches delayed onset of seizures instigated by GABA antagonists but not seizures through other mechanisms. Inhibition of neurosteroid synthesis by finasteride partially blocked the anticonvulsant effects of sEH inhibitors while the efficacy of an inactive dose of neurosteroid allopregnanolone was enhanced by sEH inhibition. Consistent with earlier findings, levels of prostanoids in the brain were elevated. In contrast, levels of bioactive EpFAs were decreased following seizures. Overall these results demonstrate that EETs are natural molecules which suppress the tonic component of seizure related excitability through modulating the GABA activity and that exploration of the EET mediated signaling in the brain could yield alternative approaches to treat convulsive disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)