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Keywords:

  • dentate gyrus;
  • epilepsy;
  • mGluR8;
  • mossy fibre sprouting;
  • perforant path;
  • temporal lobe epilepsy

Abstract

Human temporal lobe epilepsy is characterized by strong synaptic reorganization that leads to abnormal recurrent excitatory synaptic connections among hippocampal neurons. In addition, electrophysiological studies show that synaptic activity of the main afferent input to the hippocampus, the perforant path, is prolonged and amplified by changes in postsynaptic glutamate receptors. The current view is that these morphological and physiological abnormalities contribute significantly to the hyperexcitability seen in the hippocampus of temporal lobe epilepsy. Recently, it was found that presynaptic inhibitory metabotropic glutamate receptors are an important negative feedback mechanism that controls synaptic release of glutamate in the hippocampus. In this study, we assessed the functionality of this feedback system by investigating the metabotropic glutamate receptor mediated depression of excitatory synaptic transmission in surgically removed hippocampi from patients with marked synaptic reorganization (Ammon's horn sclerosis group) and from patients without detectable reorganization (lesion group). We report here that this control of synaptic transmission is lost in hippocampi from the Ammon's horn sclerosis group whereas this control is preserved in hippocampi from the lesion group. The data presented here suggest that the loss of feedback inhibition mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptors could be a further, previously not recognized, mechanism in the pathophysiology of temporal lobe epilepsy.