Author(s): Meng DW, Liu HG, Yang AC, Zhang K, Zhang JG
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The antiepileptic effect of the anterior thalamic nuclei (ANT) stimulation has been demonstrated; however, its underlying mechanism remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of chronic ANT stimulation on hippocampal neuron loss and apoptosis. METHODS: Sixty-four rats were divided into four groups: The control group, the kainic acid (KA) group, the sham-deep brain stimulation (DBS) group, and the DBS group. KA was used to induce epilepsy. Seizure count and latency to the first spontaneous seizures were calculated. Nissl staining was used to analyze hippocampal neuronal loss. Polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting were conducted to assess the expression of caspase-3 (Casp3), B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl2), and Bcl2-associated X protein (Bax) in the hippocampal CA3 region. One-way analysis of variance was used to determine the differences between the four groups. RESULTS: The latency to the first spontaneous seizures in the DBS group was significantly longer than that in the KA group (27.50 ± 8.05 vs. 16.38 ± 7.25 days, P = 0.0005). The total seizure number in the DBS group was also significantly reduced (DBS vs. KA group: 11.75 ± 6.80 vs. 23.25 ± 7.72, P = 0.0002). Chronic ANT-DBS reduced neuronal loss in the hippocampal CA3 region (DBS vs. KA group: 23.58 ± 6.34 vs. 13.13 ± 4.00, P = 0.0012). After chronic DBS, the relative mRNA expression level of Casp3 was decreased (DBS vs. KA group: 1.18 ± 0.37 vs. 2.09 ± 0.46, P = 0.0003), and the relative mRNA expression level of Bcl2 was increased (DBS vs. KA group: 0.92 ± 0.21 vs. 0.48 ± 0.16, P = 0.0004). The protein expression levels of CASP3 (DBS vs. KA group: 1.25 ± 0.26 vs. 2.49 ± 0.38, P < 0.0001) and BAX (DBS vs. KA group: 1.57 ± 0.49 vs. 2.80 ± 0.63, P = 0.0012) both declined in the DBS group whereas the protein expression level of BCL2 (DBS vs. KA group: 0.78 ± 0.32 vs. 0.36 ± 0.17, P = 0.0086) increased in the DBS group. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that chronic ANT stimulation could exert a neuroprotective effect on hippocampal neurons. This neuroprotective effect is likely to be mediated by the inhibition of apoptosis in the epileptic hippocampus.
This article was published in Chin Med J (Engl)
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology