Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a common form of adult epilepsy involving the limbic structures of the temporal lobe. Subiculum neurons act to provide a major output from the hippocampus and consist of a large population of endogenously bursting excitatory neurons. In TLE, subiculum neurons are largely spared, become hyperexcitable and show spontaneous epileptiform activity. The basis for this hyperexcitability is unclear, but is likely to involve alterations in the expression levels and function of various ion channels. In this study, we sought to determine the importance of sodium channel currents in facilitating neuronal hyperexcitability of subiculum neurons in the continuous hippocampal stimulation (CHS) rat model of TLE. Subiculum neurons from TLE rats were hyperexcitable, firing a higher frequency of action potentials after somatic current injection and action potential (AP) bursts after synaptic stimulation. Voltage clamp recordings revealed increases in resurgent (INaR) and persistent (INaP) sodium channel currents and pro-excitatory shifts in sodium channel activation and inactivation parameters that would facilitate increases in AP generation. Attenuation of INaR and INaP currents with 4,9-anhydro-tetrodotoxin (4,9-ah TTX; 100nM), a toxin with increased potency against Nav1.6 channels, suppressed neuronal firing frequency and inhibited AP bursting induced by synaptic stimulation in TLE neurons. These findings support an important role of sodium channels, particularly Nav1.6, in facilitating subiculum neuron hyperexcitability in TLE and provide further support for the importance of INaR and INaP currents in establishing epileptiform activity of subiculum neurons.
Keywords: Action potentials; Electrophysiology; Na(v)1.6; Sodium channels; Subiculum; Temporal lobe epilepsy.
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