Astrocytes in kindling: relevance to epileptogenesis

Author(s): Khurgel M, Ivy GO


Astrogliosis is a prominent feature of epileptic foci, and may play a causal role in the development of seizures and the persistance of seizure disorders. We have studied morphological changes in astrocytes with respect to the evolution of seizures using the kindling model of epilepsy. Kindling-induced seizures result in a prominent hypertrophy of astrocytes that is accompanied by a reorganization of astrocytic cytoskeleton. The change in the morphology of astrocytes appears to be seizure-intensity dependent, occurs early in the kindling process, and persists for weeks following the last seizure. In addition to hypertrophy, we have observed an increase in proliferation of astrocytes in hippocampus, amygdala and piriform cortex, but no change in the expression of connexin-43 following kindling. Significantly, induction of a localized astrocyte hypertrophy prior to initiation of kindling does not result in seizures and does not facilitate kindling. Altogether these data suggest that 'gliosis' is an adaptive response to seizures.

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