Purpose: Prolonged and continuous epileptic seizure (status epilepticus) results in cellular changes that lead to neuronal damage. We investigated whether these cellular changes entail mitochondrial dysfunction and ultrastructural damage in the hippocampus, by using a kainic acid (KA)-induced experimental status epilepticus model.
Methods: In Sprague-Dawley rats maintained under chloral hydrate anesthesia, KA (0.5 nmol) was microinjected unilaterally into the CA3 subfield of the hippocampus to induce seizure-like hippocampal EEG activity. The activity of key mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes in the dentate gyrus (DG), or CA1 or CA3 subfield of the hippocampus was measured 30 or 180 min after application of KA. Ultrastructure of mitochondria in those three hippocampal subfields during KA-induced status epilepticus also was examined with electron microscopy.
Results: Microinjection of KA into the CA3 subfield of the hippocampus elicited progressive build-up of seizure-like hippocampal EEG activity. Enzyme assay revealed significant depression of the activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide cytochrome c reductase (marker for Complexes I+III) in the DG, or CA1 or CA3 subfields 180 min after KA-elicited temporal lobe status epilepticus. Conversely, the activities of succinate cytochrome c reductase (marker for Complexes II+III) and cytochrome c oxidase (marker for Complex IV) remained unaltered. Discernible mitochondrial ultrastructural damage, varying from swelling to disruption of membrane integrity, also was observed in the hippocampus 180 min after hippocampal application of KA.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that dysfunction of Complex I respiratory chain enzyme and mitochondrial ultrastructural damage in the hippocampus are associated with prolonged seizure during experimental temporal lobe status epilepticus.