The Korean journal of physiology & pharmacology : official journal of the Korean Physiological Society and the Korean Society of Pharmacology

Neuroprotective effect of lithium after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus in mice.

PMID 28066149


Status epilepticus is the most common serious neurological condition triggered by abnormal electrical activity, leading to severe and widespread cell loss in the brain. Lithium has been one of the main drugs used for the treatment of bipolar disorder for decades, and its anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties have been described in several neurological disease models. However, the therapeutic mechanisms underlying lithium's actions remain poorly understood. The muscarinic receptor agonist pilocarpine is used to induce status epilepticus, which is followed by hippocampal damage. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of lithium post-treatment on seizure susceptibility and hippocampal neuropathological changes following pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. Status epilepticus was induced by administration of pilocarpine hydrochloride (320 mg/kg, i.p.) in C57BL/6 mice at 8 weeks of age. Lithium (80 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered 15 minutes after the pilocarpine injection. After the lithium injection, status epilepticus onset time and mortality were recorded. Lithium significantly delayed the onset time of status epilepticus and reduced mortality compared to the vehicle-treated group. Moreover, lithium effectively blocked pilocarpine-induced neuronal death in the hippocampus as estimated by cresyl violet and Fluoro-Jade B staining. However, lithium did not reduce glial activation following pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. These results suggest that lithium has a neuroprotective effect and would be useful in the treatment of neurological disorders, in particular status epilepticus.

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