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Keywords:

  • amygdala;
  • epilepsy;
  • gene expression;
  • neurotrophic factors;
  • rat

Abstract

Neurotrophic factors (NTF) play important roles in the developing and in the adult brain. NTF involvement in neuronal plasticity is suggested by the modulation of NTF expression patterns in different physiological and pathological situations and by the effects they produce in the adult brain (e.g. axonal sprouting induction and neuroprotection). We used the RNAase protection assay to investigate the expression patterns of some NTFs during amygdala kindling, an animal model of epilepsy in which ‘pathological’ neuronal plasticity appears to occur. After a single kindling stimulation, fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) mRNA levels were increased in the hippocampus, the cortex and the hypothalamus, whereas they were not significantly altered in the thalamus and the striatum. A single stimulation did not alter fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene expression. Fully kindled animals, left unstimulated for a week, did not exhibit any alteration in the mRNA levels for any of the NTFs examined. However, in contrast with the effect of a single stimulation, amygdala stimulation of kindled animals (evoking a generalized tonic-clonic seizure) produced a great increase in hippocampal and cortical BDNF mRNA levels, but FGF-1 mRNA levels were not altered, and FGF-2 mRNA levels were significantly increased only in the cortex. These results suggest that different NTFs can be recruited at different stages of kindling epileptogenesis and, accordingly, may play different parts in the adaptive changes taking place in this experimental paradigm.