Changes in vesicular transporters for gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate reveal vulnerability and reorganization of hippocampal neurons following pilocarpine-induced seizures.


  • Boulland Jean-Luc
  • Ferhat Lotfi
  • Tallak Solbu Tom
  • Ferrand Nadine
  • Chaudhry Farrukh Abbas
  • Storm-Mathisen Jon
  • Esclapez Monique

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The reorganizations of the overall intrinsic glutamatergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic hippocampal networks as well as the time course of these reorganizations during development of pilocarpine-induced temporal lobe epilepsy were studied with in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry experiments for the vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1) and the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT). These transporters are particularly interesting as specific markers for glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons, respectively, whose expression levels could reflect the demand for synaptic transmission and their average activity. We report that 1) concomitantly with the loss of some subpopulations of VGAT-containing neurons, there was an up-regulation of VGAT synthesis in all remaining GABA neurons as early as 1 week after pilocarpine injection. This enhanced synthesis is characterized by marked increases in the relative amount of VGAT mRNAs in interneurons associated with increased intensity of axon terminal labeling for VGAT in all hippocampal layers. 2) There was a striking loss of mossy cells during the latent period, demonstrated by a long-term decrease of VGLUT1 mRNA-containing hilar neurons and associated loss of VGLUT1-containing terminals in the dentate gyrus inner molecular layer. 3) There were aberrant VGLUT1-containing terminals at the chronic stage resulting from axonal sprouting of granule and pyramidal cells. This is illustrated by a recovery of VGLUT1 immunoreactivity in the inner molecular layer and an increased VGLUT1 immunolabeling in the CA1-CA3 dendritic layers. These data indicate that an increased activity of remaining GABAergic interneurons occurs during the latent period, in parallel with the loss of vulnerable glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons preceding the reorganization of glutamatergic networks.

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