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Keywords:

  • status epilepticus;
  • pilocarpine;
  • neurotrophin;
  • seizure;
  • LM11A-31 p75NTR

Neurotrophins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), are initially expressed in a precursor form (e.g., pro-BDNF) and cleaved to form mature BDNF (mBDNF). After pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE), increases in neurotrophins regulate a wide variety of cell-signaling pathways, including prosurvival and cell-death machinery in a receptor-specific manner. Pro-BDNF preferentially binds to the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR), whereas mBDNF is the major ligand of the tropomyosin-related kinase receptor. To elucidate a potential role for p75NTR in acute stages of epileptogenesis, rats were injected prior to and at onset of SE with LM11A-31, a small-molecule ligand that binds to p75NTR to promote survival signaling and inhibit neuronal cell death. Modulation of early p75NTR signaling and its effects on electrographic SE, SE-induced neurodegeneration, and subsequent spontaneous seizures were examined after LM11A-31 administration. Despite an established neuroprotective effect of LM11A-31 in several animal models of neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury), high-dose LM11A-31 administration prior to and at onset of SE did not reduce the intensity of electrographic SE, prevent SE-induced neuronal cell injury, or inhibit the progression of epileptogenesis. Further studies are required to understand the role of p75NTR activation during epileptogenesis and in seizure-induced cell injury in the hippocampus, among other potential cellular pathologies contributing to the onset of spontaneous seizures. Additional studies utilizing more prolonged treatment with LM11A-31 are required to reach a definite conclusion on its potential neuroprotective role in epilepsy. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.