One of the most common types of epilepsy in adults is temporal lobe epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy is often resistant to pharmacological treatment, requiring urgent understanding of its molecular and cellular mechanisms. It is generally accepted that an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory inputs is related to epileptogenesis. We have recently identified that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 7 is critical for inhibitory synapse formation in the developing hippocampus. Remarkably, FGF7 knockout mice are prone to epileptic seizures induced by chemical kindling (Terauchi et al., 2010). Here we show that FGF7 knockout mice exhibit epileptogenesis-related changes in the hippocampus even without kindling induction. FGF7 knockout mice show mossy fiber sprouting and enhanced dentate neurogenesis by 2 months of age, without apparent spontaneous seizures. These results suggest that FGF7-deficiency impairs inhibitory synapse formation, which results in mossy fiber sprouting and enhanced neurogenesis during development, making FGF7 knockout mice vulnerable to epilepsy.
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