Stress and Corticosteroids Aggravate Morphological Changes in the Dentate Gyrus after Early-Life Experimental Febrile Seizures in Mice

Jolien S. van Campen*, Ellen V. S. Hessel, Kirsten Bohmbach, Giorgio Rizzi, Paul J. Lucassen, Sada Lakshmi Turimella, Eduardo H. L. Umeoka, Gideon F. Meerhoff, Kees P. J. Braun, Pierre N. E. de Graan, Marian Joels

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Stress is the most frequently self-reported seizure precipitant in patients with epilepsy. Moreover, a relation between ear stress and epilepsy has been suggested. Although ear stress and stress hormones are known to influence seizure threshold in rodents, effects on the development of epilepsy (epileptogenesis) are still unclear. Therefore, we studied the consequences of ear corticosteroid exposure for epileptogenesis, under highly controlled conditions in an animal model. Experimental febrile seizures (eFS) were elicited in 10-day-old mice by warm-air induced hyperthermia, while a control group was exposed to a normothermic condition. In the following 2 weeks, mice received either seven corticosterone or vehicle injections or were left undisturbed. Specific measures indicative for epileptogenesis were examined at 25 days of age and compared with vehicle injected or untreated mice. We examined structural [neurogenesis, dendritic morphology, and mossy fiber sprouting (MFS)] and functional (glutamatergic postsynaptic currents and long-term potentiation) plasticity in the dentate gyrus (DG). We found that differences in DG morphology induced by eFS were aggravated by repetitive (mildly stressful) vehicle injections and corticosterone exposure. In the injected groups, eFS were associated with decreases in neurogenesis, and increases in cell proliferation, dendritic length, and spine density. No group differences were found in MFS. Despite these changes in DG morphology, no effects of eFS were found on functional plasticity. We conclude that corticosterone exposure during early epileptogenesis elicited by eFS aggravates morphological, but not functional, changes in the DG, which partly supports the hypothesis that ear stress stimulates epileptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in endocrinology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26-Jan-2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • stress
  • corticosteroids
  • epilepsy
  • epileptogenesis
  • febrile seizures
  • hyperthermia
  • early-life
  • TEMPORAL-LOBE EPILEPSY
  • GRANULE CELLS
  • RECURRENT SEIZURES
  • RAT HIPPOCAMPUS
  • LONG-TERM
  • ADULT NEUROGENESIS
  • NEONATAL ISOLATION
  • PYRAMIDAL CELLS
  • PRENATAL STRESS
  • IMMATURE RATS

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