Changes in polyamine levels in rat brain after systemic kainic acid administration: relationship to convulsant activity and brain damage

J Neurochem. 1991 Jul;57(1):1-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1991.tb02091.x.


We have examined the effects of systemic kainic acid (KA) administration (9 mg/kg, i.p.) on rat behavior, brain damage, and polyamine levels and the action of the specific ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) on these effects. KA elicited convulsant activity in 63% of the animals. In the acute convulsant phase (1-3 h after KA), a rapid decline (-39% at 3 h) of spermidine content in frontal cortex was found. After the acute convulsant phase, levels of hippocampal spermidine and spermine were reduced (-70 and -66%, respectively, at 8 h). A dramatic increase of putrescine content (68.1, 1,382, and 336% at 8 h, 24 h, and 9 days, respectively, after KA) was found, associated with histological signs of cortical brain damage (ischemia and necrosis). There was a close relationship between the concentration of putrescine and signs of delayed toxicity (body weight losses) 24 h and 9 days after KA. DFMO partially antagonized the convulsant activity and reduced the increased putrescine levels to approximately 50% of values in KA-treated animals at 24 h but did not change the pattern of histological damage. The role of polyamines in the early and late phases of KA-induced neurotoxicity is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / chemically induced*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology
  • Eflornithine / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Kainic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Kainic Acid / poisoning
  • Male
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Polyamines / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / pathology


  • Polyamines
  • Kainic Acid
  • Eflornithine