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Free Content Statistical parametric mapping reveals regional alterations in cannabinoid CB1 receptor distribution and G‐protein activation in the 3D reconstructed epileptic rat brain

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Purpose:  The endocannabinoid system is known to modulate seizure activity in several in vivo and in vitro models, and CB1‐receptor activation is anticonvulsant in the rat pilocarpine model of acquired epilepsy (AE). In these epileptic rats, a unique redistribution of the CB1 receptor occurs within the hippocampus; however, an anatomically inclusive analysis of the effect of status epilepticus (SE)–induced AE on CB1 receptors has not been thoroughly evaluated. Therefore, statistical parametric mapping (SPM), a whole‐brain unbiased approach, was used to study the long‐term effect of pilocarpine‐induced SE on CB1‐receptor binding and G‐protein activation in rats with AE.

Methods:  Serial coronal sections from control and epileptic rats were cut at equal intervals throughout the neuraxis and processed for [3H]WIN55,212‐2 (WIN) autoradiography, WIN‐stimulated [35S]GTPγS autoradiography, and CB1‐receptor immunohistochemistry (IHC). The autoradiographic techniques were evaluated with both region of interest (ROI) and SPM analyses.

Key Findings:  In rats with AE, regionally specific increases in CB1‐receptor binding and activity were detected in cortex, discrete thalamic nuclei, and other regions including caudate‐putamen and septum, and confirmed by IHC. However, CB1 receptors were unaltered in several brain regions, including substantia nigra and cerebellum, and did not exhibit regional decreases in rats with AE.

Significance:  This study provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the regional distribution of changes in CB1‐receptor expression, binding, and G‐protein activation in the rat pilocarpine model of AE. These regions may ultimately serve as targets for cannabinomimetic compounds or manipulation of the endocannabinoid system in epileptic brain.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Anatomy & Neurobiology 2: Pharmacology & Toxicology 3: Neurology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

Publication date: 01 May 2012

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