Scopolamine prevents aberrant mossy fiber sprouting and facilitates remission of epilepsy after brain injury
A B S T R A C T
Prevention or modification of acquired epilepsy in patients at risk is an urgent, yet unmet, clinical need. Following acute brain insults, there is an increased risk of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE), which is often associated with debilitating comorbidities and reduced life expectancy. The latent period between brain injury and the onset of epilepsy may offer a therapeutic window for interfering with epileptogenesis. The pilocarpine model of mTLE is widely used in the search for novel antiepileptogenic treatments. Recent biochemical studies indicated that cholinergic mechanisms play a role in the epileptogenic alterations induced by status epilepticus (SE) in this and other models of mTLE, which prompted us to evaluate whether treatment with the muscarinic antagonist scopolamine during the latent period after SE is capable of preventing or modifying epilepsy and associated behavioral and cognitive alterations in female Sprague-Dawley rats. First, in silico pharmacokinetic modeling was used to select a dosing protocol by which M-receptor inhibitory brain levels of scopolamine are maintained during prolonged treatment. This protocol was verified by drug analysis in vivo. Rats were then treated twice daily with scopolamine over 17 days after SE, followed by drug wash-out and behavioral and video/EEG monitoring up to ~6 months after SE. Compared to vehicle controls, rats that were treated with scopolamine during the latent period exhibited a significantly lower incidence of spontaneous recurrent seizures during periods of intermittent recording in the chronic phase of epilepsy, less behavioral excitability, less cognitive impairment, and significantly reduced aberrant mossy fiber sprouting in the hippocampus. The present data may indicate that scopolamine exerts antiepileptogenic/disease-modifying activity in the lithiumpilocarpine rat model, possibly involving increased remission of epilepsy as new mechanism of diseasemodification. For evaluating the rigor of the present data, we envision a study that more thoroughly addresses the gender bias and video-EEG recording limitations of the present study.