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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Resistance to excitotoxin-induced seizures and neuronal death in mice lacking the preprotachykinin A gene.

Epileptic seizures are associated with increases in hippocampal excitability, but the mechanisms that render the hippocampus hyperexcitable chronically (in epilepsy) or acutely (in status epilepticus) are poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests that substance P (SP), a peptide that has been implicated in cardiovascular function, inflammatory responses, and nociception, also contributes to hippocampal excitability and status epilepticus, in part by enhancing glutamate release. Here we report that mice with disruption of the preprotachykinin A gene, which encodes SP and neurokinin A, are resistant to kainate excitoxicity. The mice show a reduction in the duration and severity of seizures induced by kainate or pentylenetetrazole, and both necrosis and apoptosis of hippocampal neurons are prevented. Although kainate induced the expression of bax and caspase 3 in the hippocampus of wild-type mice, these critical intracellular mediators of cell death pathways were not altered by kainate injection in the mutant mice. These results indicate that the reduction of seizure activity and the neuroprotection observed in preprotachykinin A null mice are caused by the extinction of a SP/neurokinin A-mediated signaling pathway that is activated by seizures. They suggest that these neurokinins are critical to the control of hippocampal excitability, hippocampal seizures, and hippocampal vulnerability.[1]


  1. Resistance to excitotoxin-induced seizures and neuronal death in mice lacking the preprotachykinin A gene. Liu, H., Cao, Y., Basbaum, A.I., Mazarati, A.M., Sankar, R., Wasterlain, C.G. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1999) [Pubmed]
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