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Keywords:

  • calcium dynamics;
  • cultured hippocampal neurons;
  • epileptogenesis;
  • Fura-2;
  • patch-clamp electrophysiology;
  • rat

Abstract

Status epilepticus is a clinical emergency that can lead to the development of acquired epilepsy following neuronal injury. Understanding the pathophysiological changes that occur between the injury itself and the expression of epilepsy is important in the development of new therapeutics to prevent epileptogenesis. Currently, no anti-epileptogenic agents exist; thus, the ability to treat an individual immediately after status epilepticus to prevent the ultimate development of epilepsy remains an important clinical challenge. In the Sprague–Dawley rat pilocarpine model of status epilepticus-induced acquired epilepsy, intracellular calcium has been shown to increase in hippocampal neurons during status epilepticus and remain elevated well past the duration of the injury in those animals that develop epilepsy. This study aimed to determine if such changes in calcium dynamics exist in the hippocampal culture model of status epilepticus-induced acquired epilepsy and, if so, to study whether manipulating the calcium plateau after status epilepticus would prevent epileptogenesis. The in vitro status epilepticus model resembled the in vivo model in terms of elevations in neuronal calcium concentrations that were maintained well past the duration of the injury. When used following in vitro status epilepticus, dantrolene, a ryanodine receptor inhibitor, but not the N-methyl-d-aspartic acid channel blocker MK-801 inhibited the elevations in intracellular calcium, decreased neuronal death and prevented the expression of spontaneous recurrent epileptiform discharges, the in vitro correlate of epilepsy. These findings offer potential for a novel treatment to prevent the development of epileptiform discharges following brain injuries.