Eclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy that is defined by the new onset of grand mal seizures on the basis of pre-eclampsia. Until now, the mechanisms underlying eclampsia were poorly understood. Brain edema is considered a leading cause of eclamptic seizures; aquaporins (AQP4 and AQP9), the glial water channel proteins mainly expressed in the nervous system, play an important role in brain edema. We studied AQP4 and AQP9 expression in the hippocampus of pre-eclamptic and eclamptic rats in order to explore the molecular mechanisms involved in brain edema. Using our previous animal models, we found several neuronal deaths in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 regions after pre-eclampsia and that eclampsia induced more neuronal deaths in both areas by Nissl staining. In the current study, RT-PCR and Western blotting data showed significant upregulation of AQP4 and AQP9 mRNA and protein levels after eclamptic seizures in comparison to pre-eclampsia and at the same time AQP4 and AQP9 immunoreactivity also increased after eclampsia. These findings showed that eclamptic seizures induced cell death and that upregulation of AQP4 and AQP9 may play an important role in this pathophysiological process.
Keywords: aquaporin 4; aquaporin 9; eclampsia; hippocampus; neuronal death.