Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most frequent form of focal epilepsies and is generally associated with malfunctioning of the hippocampal formation. Recently, a preferential loss of parvalbumin (PV) neurons has been observed in the subiculum of TLE patients and in animal models of TLE. To demonstrate a possible causative role of defunct PV neurons in the generation of TLE, we permanently inhibited GABA release selectively from PV neurons of the ventral subiculum by injecting a viral vector expressing tetanus toxin light chain in male mice. Subsequently, mice were subjected to telemetric EEG recording and video monitoring. Eighty-eight percent of the mice presented clusters of spike-wave discharges (C-SWDs; 40.0 ± 9.07/month), and 64% showed spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRSs; 5.3 ± 0.83/month). Mice injected with a control vector presented with neither C-SWDs nor SRSs. No neurodegeneration was observed due to vector injection or SRS. Interestingly, mice that presented with only C-SWDs but no SRSs, developed SRSs upon injection of a subconvulsive dose of pentylenetetrazole after 6 weeks. The initial frequency of SRSs declined by ∼30% after 5 weeks. In contrast to permanent silencing of PV neurons, transient inhibition of GABA release from PV neurons through the designer receptor hM4Di selectively expressed in PV-containing neurons transiently reduced the seizure threshold of the mice but induced neither acute nor recurrent seizures. Our data demonstrate a critical role for perisomatic inhibition mediated by PV-containing interneurons, suggesting that their sustained silencing could be causally involved in the development of TLE.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Development of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) generally takes years after an initial insult during which maladaptation of hippocampal circuitries takes place. In human TLE and in animal models of TLE, parvalbumin neurons are selectively lost in the subiculum, the major output area of the hippocampus. The present experiments demonstrate that specific and sustained inhibition of GABA release from parvalbumin-expressing interneurons (mostly basket cells) in sector CA1/subiculum is sufficient to induce hyperexcitability and spontaneous recurrent seizures in mice. As in patients with nonlesional TLE, these mice developed epilepsy without signs of neurodegeneration. The experiments highlight the importance of the potent inhibitory action mediated by parvalbumin cells in the hippocampus and identify a potential mechanism in the development of TLE.
Keywords: basket cell; epilepsy; epileptogenesis; feedforward inhibition; parvalbumin; subiculum.
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