PloS one

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor ameliorates brain stem cardiovascular dysregulation during experimental temporal lobe status epilepticus.

PMID 22442695


Status epilepticus (SE) is an acute, prolonged epileptic crisis with a mortality rate of 20-30%; the underlying mechanism is not completely understood. We assessed the hypothesis that brain stem cardiovascular dysregulation occurs during SE because of oxidative stress in rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM), a key nucleus of the baroreflex loop; to be ameliorated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) via an antioxidant action. In a clinically relevant experimental model of temporal lobe SE (TLSE) using Sprague-Dawley rats, sustained hippocampal seizure activity was accompanied by progressive hypotension that was preceded by a reduction in baroreflex-mediated sympathetic vasomotor tone; heart rate and baroreflex-mediated cardiac responses remained unaltered. Biochemical experiments further showed concurrent augmentation of superoxide anion, phosphorylated p47(phox) subunit of NADPH oxidase and mRNA or protein levels of BDNF, tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), angiotensin AT1 receptor subtype (AT1R), nitric oxide synthase II (NOS II) or peroxynitrite in RVLM. Whereas pretreatment by microinjection bilaterally into RVLM of a superoxide dismutase mimetic (tempol), a specific antagonist of NADPH oxidase (apocynin) or an AT1R antagonist (losartan) blunted significantly the augmented superoxide anion or phosphorylated p47(phox) subunit in RVLM, hypotension and the reduced baroreflex-mediated sympathetic vasomotor tone during experimental TLSE, pretreatment with a recombinant human TrkB-Fc fusion protein or an antisense bdnf oligonucleotide significantly potentiated all those events, alongside peroxynitrite. However, none of the pretreatments affected the insignificant changes in heart rate and baroreflex-mediated cardiac responses. We conclude that formation of peroxynitrite by a reaction between superoxide anion generated by NADPH oxidase in RVLM on activation by AT1R and NOS II-derived NO leads to a reduction in baroreflex-mediated sympathetic vasomotor tone during experimental TLSE; to be ameliorated by the upregulated BDNF/TrkB signaling via inhibition of p47(phox) phosphorylation. This information offers a new vista in devising therapeutic strategy towards minimizing mortality associated with TLSE.