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Keywords:

  • cytokines;
  • excitotoxicity;
  • epilepsy;
  • neurodegeneration;
  • interleukin-1;
  • kainic acid

Abstract

The evidence of inflammatory processes in the clinical manifestations and neuropathological sequelae of epilepsy have accumulated in the last decade. Administration of kainic acid, an analogue of the excitatory amino acid glutamate, induces a characteristic behavioural syndrome and a reproducible pattern of neurodegeneration in several brain areas, closely resembling human temporal lobe epilepsy. Results from studies using the kainic acid model indicate that manipulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines can modify the outcome with regard to the behavioural syndrome as well as the neuropathological consequences. Interleukin-1 is one of the most important cytokines and has several actions in the brain that are critical for the host defense against injury and infection, and it is involved in the initiation of early stages of inflammation. It is believed that interleukin-1 plays a pivotal role in the neuroinflammation associated with certain forms of neurodegeneration, including cerebral ischemia, trauma and excitotoxic brain injury. In this review, we have summarized the experimental data available with regard to the involvement of the interleukin-1 system in kainic acid-induced changes in the brain and emphasized the modulatory role of interleukin-1β in this model of epilepsy.