Status epilepticus (SE) is a common neurological emergency for which new treatments are needed. In vitro studies suggest a novel approach to controlling seizures in SE: acute inhibition of estrogen synthesis in the brain. Here, we show in rats that systemic administration of an aromatase (estrogen synthase) inhibitor after seizure onset strongly suppresses both electrographic and behavioral seizures induced by kainic acid (KA). We found that KA-induced SE stimulates synthesis of estradiol (E2) in the hippocampus, a brain region commonly involved in seizures and where E2 is known to acutely promote neural activity. Hippocampal E2 levels were higher in rats experiencing more severe seizures. Consistent with a seizure-promoting effect of hippocampal estrogen synthesis, intra-hippocampal aromatase inhibition also suppressed seizures. These results reveal neurosteroid estrogen synthesis as a previously unknown factor in the escalation of seizures and suggest that acute administration of aromatase inhibitors may be an effective treatment for SE.
Animal experimentation: All animal procedures were performed in accordance with the National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and were approved by the Northwestern University Animal Care and Use Committee. Animal Study Protocol IS00000520 (expires 6/26/2017)Animal Welfare Assurance A3283-01
- Gary L Westbrook, Vollum Institute, United States
© 2016, Sato & Woolley
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The hippocampus consists of a stereotyped neuronal circuit repeated along the septal-temporal axis. This transverse circuit contains distinct subfields with stereotyped connectivity that support crucial cognitive processes, including episodic and spatial memory. However, comprehensive measurements across the transverse hippocampal circuit in vivo are intractable with existing techniques. Here, we developed an approach for two-photon imaging of the transverse hippocampal plane in awake mice via implanted glass microperiscopes, allowing optical access to the major hippocampal subfields and to the dendritic arbor of pyramidal neurons. Using this approach, we tracked dendritic morphological dynamics on CA1 apical dendrites and characterized spine turnover. We then used calcium imaging to quantify the prevalence of place and speed cells across subfields. Finally, we measured the anatomical distribution of spatial information, finding a non-uniform distribution of spatial selectivity along the DG-to-CA1 axis. This approach extends the existing toolbox for structural and functional measurements of hippocampal circuitry.