Cerebrospinal fluid protein biomarker panel for assessment of neurotoxicity induced by kainic acid in rats.
The molecular mechanisms mediating degeneration in response to neuronal insults, including damage evoked by prolonged seizure activity, show substantial variability across laboratories and injury models. Here we investigate the extent to which the proportion of cell death occurring by apoptotic vs. necrotic mechanisms may be shifted by changing the temporal parameters of the insult. In initial studies with continuous seizures (status epilepticus, SE), signs of apoptotic degeneration were most clearly observed when SE occurred following a long latency (>86 min) after injection of kainic acid as compared with a short-latency SE (<76 min). Therefore, in this study we directly compared short- with long-latency SE for the expression of molecular markers for apoptosis and necrosis in an especially vulnerable brain region (rhinal cortex). Molecular markers of apoptosis (DNA fragmentation, cleavage of ICAD, an inhibitor of "caspase-activated DNase" (CAD), and prevalence of a caspase-generated fragment of alpha-spectrin) were detected following long-latency SE. Short-latency SE resulted in expression of predominantly necrotic features of cell death, such as "non-ladder" pattern of genomic DNA degradation, prevalence of a calpain-generated alpha-spectrin fragment, and absence of ICAD cleavage. Silver staining revealed no significant difference in the extent and spatial distribution of degeneration between long- or short-latency SE. These data indicate that the latency to onset of SE determines the extent to which apoptotic or necrotic mechanisms contribute to the degeneration following SE. The presence of a long latency period, during which multiple brief seizure episodes may occur, favors the occurrence of apoptotic cell death. It is possible that the absence of such "preconditioning" period in short-latency SE favors predominantly necrotic profile.