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Endogenous dynorphin in epileptogenesis and epilepsy: anticonvulsant net effect via kappa opioid receptors


Neuropsychiatric disorders are one of the main challenges of human medicine with epilepsy being one of the most common serious disorders of the brain. Increasing evidence suggest neuropeptides, particularly the opioids, play an important role in epilepsy. However, little is known about the mechanisms of the endogenous opioid system in epileptogenesis and epilepsy. Therefore, we investigated the role of endogenous prodynorphin-derived peptides in epileptogenesis, acute seizure behaviour and epilepsy in prodynorphin-deficient mice. Compared with wild-type littermates, prodynorphin knockout mice displayed a significantly reduced seizure threshold as assessed by tail-vein infusion of the GABA(A) antagonist pentylenetetrazole. This phenotype could be entirely rescued by the kappa receptor-specific agonist U-50488, but not by the mu receptor-specific agonist DAMGO. The delta-specific agonist SNC80 decreased seizure threshold in both genotypes, wild-type and knockout. Pre-treatment with the kappa selective antagonist GNTI completely blocked the rescue effect of U-50488. Consistent with the reduced seizure threshold, prodynorphin knockout mice showed faster seizure onset and a prolonged time of seizure activity after intracisternal injection of kainic acid. Three weeks after local injection of kainic acid into the stratum radiatum CA1 of the dorsal hippocampus, prodynorphin knockout mice displayed an increased extent of granule cell layer dispersion and neuronal loss along the rostrocaudal axis of the ipsi- and partially also of the contralateral hippocampus. In the classical pentylenetetrazole kindling model, dynorphin-deficient mice showed significantly faster kindling progression with six out of eight animals displaying clonic seizures, while none of the nine wild-types exceeded rating 3 (forelimb clonus). Taken together, our data strongly support a critical role for dynorphin in the regulation of hippocampal excitability, indicating an anticonvulsant role of kappa opioid receptors, thereby providing a potential target for antiepileptic drugs.

Type Journal
ISBN 1460-2156 (Electronic)
Authors Loacker, S.;Sayyah, M.;Wittmann, W.;Herzog, H.;Schwarzer, C. :
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Herbert Herzog
Publisher Name BRAIN
Published Date 2007-01-01
Published Volume 130
Published Issue Pt 4
Published Pages 1017-28
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version