Reproductive endocrine disorders are common comorbidities of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Our previous studies using the intrahippocampal kainic acid (IHKA) mouse model of TLE demonstrated that many females show prolonged estrous cycles and hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons exhibit elevated firing during diestrus. However, it is unknown whether the degree of change in GnRH neuron activity is dependent on epilepsy severity. Here, we used 24/7 in vivo electroencephalography (EEG) and in vitro electrophysiological recordings in acute brain slices to assess GnRH neuron firing in relation to chronic seizure burden in diestrous female mice at two months after IHKA injection. We found that percentage of time in seizure activity in the 24 h prior to slice preparation is an accurate proxy of overall seizure burden. Firing rates of GnRH neurons from EEG-recorded IHKA mice were increased in comparison to controls, but no relationships were found between GnRH neuron firing and seizure burden measured in vivo. The independence of GnRH neuron firing rate in relation to seizure burden was unaffected by GnRH neuron soma location or estrous cycle length. Furthermore, GnRH neuron firing rates were not yet different from control values when measured 1 month after injection, when epileptogenesis is already complete in IHKA mice. These findings indicate that the severity of epilepsy and the degree of downstream disruption to GnRH neuron activity are independent, suggesting that susceptibility to reproductive endocrine comorbidities is driven by other risk factors.
Keywords: EEG; Estrous cycle; Gonadotropin-releasing hormone; Kainic acid; Mouse model.
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