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Keywords:

  • kindling;
  • hippocampal dentate granule cells;
  • dendritic spine density;
  • proximal axon volume

ABSTRACT

Temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with changes in the morphology of hippocampal dentate granule cells. These changes are evident in numerous models that are associated with substantial neuron loss and spontaneous recurrent seizures. By contrast, previous studies have shown that in the kindling model, it is possible to administer a limited number of stimulations sufficient to produce a lifelong enhanced sensitivity to stimulus evoked seizures without associated spontaneous seizures and minimal neuronal loss. Here we examined whether stimulation of the amygdala sufficient to evoke five convulsive seizures (class IV or greater on Racine's scale) produce morphological changes similar to those observed in models of epilepsy associated with substantial cell loss. The morphology of GFP-expressing granule cells from Thy-1 GFP mice was examined either 1 day or 1 month after the last evoked seizure. Interestingly, significant reductions in dendritic spine density were evident 1 day after the last seizure, the magnitude of which had diminished by 1 month. Further, there was an increase in the thickness of the granule cell layer 1 day after the last evoked seizure, which was absent a month later. We also observed an increase in the area of the proximal axon, which again returned to control levels a month later. No differences in the number of basal dendrites were detected at either time point. These findings demonstrate that the early stages of kindling epileptogenesis produce transient changes in the granule cell body layer thickness, molecular layer spine density, and axon proximal area, but do not produce striking rearrangements of granule cell structure. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.