Aberrant structural and functional plasticity in the adult hippocampus of amygdala kindled rats
Fournier, Neil M.
Amygdala kindling is commonly used to study the neural mechanisms of temporal lobe epilepsy and its behavioral consequences. The repetitive seizure activity that occurs during kindling is thought to induce an extensive array of structural and functional modifications within the brain, particularly in the hippocampus and dentate gyrus regions. Some of these changes include the growth or sprouting of new axonal connections as well as the birth and integration of new neurons into hippocampal circuits. Previous work has shown that these changes in structural and functional plasticity are not necessarily beneficial events. For instance, the growth and reorganization of synaptic terminals in the hippocampus and other brain regions might serve as a substrate that enhances hyperexcitability and seizure generation. In addition, although seizures induce the birth of new neurons, many of these newly generated cells migrate and function improperly within the hippocampal networks. Considering the prominent role of the hippocampus in a variety of behaviours, including learning, memory, and mood regulation, it would appear that alterations involving the structural and functional properties of both mature and newly born neurons in this region could impact these hippocampal-dependent functions. However, to date, the role of kindling-induced changes in hippocampal structural plasticity and neurogenesis on behaviour is incomplete, and the molecular mechanisms that govern these pathological events are poorly understood. The aim of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of the changes in synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis within the hippocampus that occur after amygdala kindling. In chapter 2, we will examine if kindling alters the expression of synapsin I, a molecular marker of synaptic growth and activity, in both the hippocampus and other brain regions. In addition, we will also set out to determine if changes in synapsin I are related to the development of behavioural impairments associated with kindling. In chapter 3, the effect of kindling on hippocampal neurogenesis will be examined. In addition, we will also evaluate the effect of kindling on the expression of Reelin and Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), two proteins instrumental for mediating proper neuronal migrational and maturation during development. In chapter 4, the effect of altered DISC1 expression in the dentate gyrus after kindling will be examined more extensively. We will examine whether altered DISC1 expression in the dentate contributes to some of the pathological features associated with seizure-induced hippocampal neurogenesis, such as ectopic cell migration and dentate granule cell layer dispersion. Finally, in chapter 5, the impact of aberrant seizure-induced neurogenesis on behaviour will be examined by determining if seizure-generated neurons functionally integrate and participate in hippocampal circuits related to memory processing. The results of this dissertation enhances our understanding of the functional consequences that altered hippocampal synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis may have on the development of epilepsy and emergence of cognitive impairments associated with chronic seizures.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorKalynchuk, Lisa E.
CommitteeKelly, Debbie M.; Corcoran, Michael E.; Mulligan, Sean J.; Galea, Liisa A.M.; Howland, John G.