Microglia modulate the structure and function of the hippocampus after early-life seizures

J Pharmacol Sci. 2020 Dec;144(4):212-217. doi: 10.1016/j.jphs.2020.09.003. Epub 2020 Sep 15.


The hippocampus is a brain region well-known to exhibit structural and functional changes in temporal lobe epilepsy. Studies analyzing the brains of patients with epilepsy and those from animal models of epilepsy have revealed that microglia are excessively activated, especially in the hippocampus. These findings suggest that microglia may contribute to the onset and aggravation of epilepsy; however, direct evidence for microglial involvement or the underlying mechanisms by which this occurs remain to be fully discovered. To date, neuron-microglia interactions have been vigorously studied in adult epilepsy models; such studies have clarified microglial responses to excessive synchronous firing of neurons. In contrast, the role of microglia in the postnatal brain of patients with epileptic seizures remain largely unclear. Some early-life seizures, such as complex febrile seizures, have been shown to cause structural and functional changes in the brain, which is a risk factor for future development of epilepsy. Because brain structure and function are actively modulated by microglia in both health and disease, it is essential to clarify the role of microglia in early-life seizures and its impact on epileptogenesis.

Keywords: Dentate gyrus; Epilepsy; Febrile seizure; Microglia; Synapse.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / etiology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microglia / pathology*
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures, Febrile / etiology
  • Seizures, Febrile / pathology
  • Synapses / physiology