Aberrant neural sprouting of messy fiber terminals in the supragranular layer of dentate gyrus is consistently observed following seizures in an animal model of epilepsy. It is also observed in hippocampi taken from epileptic patients with hippocampal sclerosis. The aberrant neural sprouting with synaptic reorganization is one of the proposed cellular mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis. It is not known whether aberrant synaptogenesis can be induced in the cortex, as in hippocampus, by seizure activity. In this study, synaptic terminals in the cortex were measured after focal cortical seizures by a semiquantitative image analysis of synaptophysin immunoreactivity. Brief intracortical perfusion of kainic acid induced focal status epilepticus and destructive cortical lesions. Synaptophysin immunoreactivity was significantly increased in the area where kainic acid was perfused. The increase of synaptophysin immunoreactivity, indicating an increase of synaptogenesis, was observed at 2 and 4 weeks after focal cortical seizures. This result suggests that kainic acid-induced seizure activity is associated with long-lasting synaptogenesis in the cortex. Studies centering on the physiological consequences of aberrant synaptogenesis may lead to additional understanding of the mechanisms underlying cortical epileptogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience