The issue of whether neuronal degeneration is a primary factor in activation of astrocytes during epileptogenesis was addressed using the kindling model of epilepsy. No degenerative changes specific to the kindling process were observed in brain sections from kindled animals, sampled from the olfactory bulbs through to cerebellum and processed with the degeneration-sensitive cupric silver stain. Also, examination of lectin-stained sections did not reveal any reactive microglia. At the same time, reactive astrocytes, as judged by an increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity and a de novo vimentin immunoreactivity, were prominent in amygdala, piriform cortex, entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. These results suggest that loss of neurones is not a prerequisite for establishment of epilepsy-prone state, that seizures of short duration do not necessarily result in neuronal death, and that in kindling, astrocytes are activated by factors that are not related to neuronal degeneration, but which are likely associated with abnormal neuronal activity.
Copyright 1995 Academic Press, Inc.