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Disease models & mechanisms

Zebrafish larvae exposed to ginkgotoxin exhibit seizure-like behavior that is relieved by pyridoxal-5'-phosphate, GABA and anti-epileptic drugs.


PMID 22736461

Abstract

The etiology of epilepsy is a very complicated, multifactorial process that is not completely understood. Therefore, the availability of epilepsy animal models induced by different mechanisms is crucial in advancing our knowledge and developing new therapeutic regimens for this disorder. Considering the advantages of zebrafish, we have developed a seizure model in zebrafish larvae using ginkgotoxin, a neurotoxin naturally occurring in Ginkgo biloba and hypothesized to inhibit the formation of the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). We found that a 2-hour exposure to ginkgotoxin induced a seizure-like behavior in zebrafish larvae. This seizure-like swimming pattern was alleviated by the addition of either pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) or GABA and responded quickly to the anti-convulsing activity of gabapentin and phenytoin, two commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Unexpectedly, the ginkgotoxin-induced PLP depletion in our experimental setting did not affect the homeostasis of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism, another metabolic pathway playing a crucial role in neural function that also relies on the availability of PLP. This ginkgotoxin-induced seizure behavior was also relieved by primidone, which had been tested on a pentylenetetrazole-induced zebrafish seizure model but failed to rescue the seizure phenotype, highlighting the potential use and complementarity of this ginkgotoxin-induced seizure model for AED development. Structural and morphological characterization showed that a 2-hour ginkgotoxin exposure did not cause appreciable changes in larval morphology and tissues development. In conclusion, our data suggests that this ginkgotoxin-induced seizure in zebrafish larvae could serve as an in vivo model for epileptic seizure research and potential AED screening.