Purpose: The role of protein synthesis in mossy fiber sprouting is unclear. Conflicting reports exist on whether a single dose of the protein synthesis-blocker cycloheximide administered around the time of an epileptogenic injury can block the eventual development of mossy fiber sprouting.
Methods: In rats, osmotic minipumps and cannulae were implanted to deliver 8 mg/ml cycloheximide to one dentate gyrus and vehicle to the other. This method has been used to block protein synthesis in the infused region for up to 5 days with minimal neurotoxic effects (Taha and Stryker, Neuron 2002;34:425-36). After 2 days of infusion, rats were treated with pilocarpine to induce status epilepticus. Pumps were removed 3 days later. Thirty days after pilocarpine treatment, rats were perfused, and hippocampal sections were processed for Timm staining.
Results: Timm staining revealed aberrant mossy fiber sprouting in the inner molecular layer regardless of whether hippocampi were treated with cycloheximide or vehicle. Cycloheximide-treated hippocampi displayed more aberrant Timm staining and more tissue damage around the infusion site than did vehicle-treated hippocampi.
Conclusions: Prolonged infusion of cycloheximide, spanning the period of pilocarpine treatment, did not block mossy fiber sprouting. This finding suggests that protein-dependent mechanisms around the time of an epileptogenic injury are not necessary for the eventual development of synaptic reorganization.