Aberrant hippocampal neurogenesis after limbic kindling: Relationship to BDNF and hippocampal-dependent memory


      • Limbic and nonlimbic kindling may have differential effects.
      • Limbic kindling enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis and neuronal maturation.
      • It also impaired hippocampal-dependent memory and increased hippocampal BDNF protein.
      • Nonlimbic kindling had none of these effects.
      • Limbic seizures may impair cognition through changes in neurogenesis and BDNF protein.


      Seizures dramatically increase the number of adult generated neurons in the hippocampus. However, it is not known whether this effect depends on seizures that originate in specific brain regions or whether it is nonspecific to seizure activity regardless of origin. We used kindling of different brain sites to address this question. Rats received 99 kindling stimulations of the basolateral amygdala, dorsal hippocampus, or caudate nucleus over a 6-week period. After kindling, we counted the number of adult generated hippocampal neurons that were birth-dated with the proliferative marker bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to evaluate cell proliferation and survival under conditions of repeated seizures. Next, we counted the number of doublecortin immunoreactive (DCX-ir) cells and evaluated their dendritic complexity to determine if limbic and nonlimbic seizures have differential effects on neuronal maturation. We also quantified hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophin factor (BDNF) protein levels using an ELISA kit and assessed memory performance using a hippocampal-dependent fear conditioning paradigm. We found that limbic, but not nonlimbic, seizures dramatically increased hippocampal cell proliferation and the number of hilar-CA3 ectopic granule cells. Further, limbic kindling promoted dendritic outgrowth of DCX-ir cells and the number of DCX-ir cells containing basal dendrites. Limbic kindling also enhanced BDNF protein levels throughout the entire hippocampus and impaired the retrieval of fear memories. Collectively, our results suggest a relationship between limbic seizures, neurogenesis, BDNF protein, and cognition.


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