Seizures and the regulation of neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide gene expression in brain.

C. Gall, J. Lauterborn, M. Bundman, Karl D Murray, P. Isackson

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78 Scopus citations


Seizure-induced plasticity, in the form of either changes in cellular morphology or changes in neurochemistry, could have a profound impact upon regional excitability in brain. There is now ample evidence that in genetically 'normal' animals, seizure activity stimulates alterations in neuronal gene expression which could lead to changes in levels of excitability and, hence, to changes in the susceptibility for further seizures. Here we describe the influence of limbic seizures upon the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF), 2 related neurotrophic factors, brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin 3 (NT3), and several neuropeptides (enkephalin, dynorphin, and neuropeptide Y) in the rat forebrain. Using 35S-labeled riboprobes and in situ hybridization methods, the effects of recurrent limbic seizures and of individual hippocampal paroxysmal discharges have been evaluated. Recurrent seizures are found to increase levels of mRNAs for NGF and BDNF and to decrease levels of mRNA for NT3 within select hippocampal neurons. Temporally distinct increases in the expression of mRNAs for NGF and BDNF are also observed across broad fields of neocortex, paleocortex (entorhinal, piriform, and cingulate cortices), and the amygdala. As little as one 20-sec paroxysmal discharge is sufficient to stimulate large changes in neurotrophic factor mRNA content of hippocampal neurons. The time courses and cellular specificities of these alterations in neurotrophic factor expression are discussed and contrasted with seizure-induced changes in neuropeptide expression. Mechanisms by which seizure-induced increases in hippocampal neuropeptide and neurotrophic factor synthesis could lead to both short- and long-term changes in regional excitability, and thereby could contribute to susceptibility for further seizure activity, are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-245
Number of pages21
JournalEpilepsy research. Supplement
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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