Long-term effects of recurrent neonatal seizures on neurobehavioral function and related gene expression and its intervention by inhibitor of cathepsin B

Neurochem Res. 2012 Jan;37(1):31-9. doi: 10.1007/s11064-011-0578-z. Epub 2011 Aug 13.


Cathepsins are families of proteases that have been reported to play the key roles in neuroexcitotoxicity. The present study was sought to determine the effect of CBI, a cathepsin B inhibitor, in the prevention of neurobehavioral deficits after inhalant flurothyl-induced recurrent neonatal seizures in rats. We examined the expression pattern of autophagy-related genes at acute phase after the last seizures using western blot method, and evaluated behavioral deficits during postnatal day 28 (P28) to P35. The results showed improved neurological scores and learning ability in CBI-treated rats compared with the nontreated control. Flurothyl-induced increases in the ratio of LC3-II/LC3-I, Beclin-1 and Cathepsin-B were blocked by pre-treatment with CBI at 1.5, 3, 6 and 24 h after the last seizures in hippocampus and cerebral cortex by western blot analysis. Meanwhile, CBI also reversed flurothyl-induced down-regulation of Bcl-2 protein levels. Furthermore, in the long-term time point of 35 days (P35), PRG-1 mRNA and protein level in hippocampus and cerebral cortex of recurrent seizure group were up-regulated when compared to the control rats; meanwhile, the up-regulated expression of PRG-1 were robustly inhibited by CBI. These date demonstrated, for the first time, that lysosomal enzymes participate in neonatal seizure-induced brain damage and that modulation of cathepsin B may offer a new strategy for the development of therapeutic interventions for treatment of developmental seizure-induced brain damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cathepsin B / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression*
  • Maze Learning
  • Rats
  • Recurrence
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seizures / genetics*
  • Seizures / physiopathology


  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • DNA Primers
  • Cathepsin B