Neonatal domoic acid alters in vivo binding of [(11)C]yohimbine to α2-adrenoceptors in adult rat brain

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RATIONALE: Epilepsy is a debilitating seizure disorder that affects approximately 50 million people. Noradrenaline reduces neuronal excitability, has anticonvulsant effects and is protective against seizure onset.

OBJECTIVE: We investigated the role of α2-adrenoceptors in vivo in a neonatal domoic acid (DOM) rat model of epilepsy.

METHODS: We injected male Sprague-Dawley rats daily from postnatal day 8-14 with saline or one of two sub-convulsive doses, 20 μg/kg (DOM20) or 60 μg/kg (DOM60) DOM, an AMPA/kainate receptor agonist. The rats were observed in open field, social interaction and forced swim tests at day 50, 75 and 98, respectively. At ~120 days of age, four rats per group were injected and scanned with [(11)C]yohimbine, an α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, and scanned in a Mediso micro positron emission tomography (PET) scanner to measure α2-adrenoceptor binding.

RESULTS: DOM60-treated rats spent more time in the periphery during the open field test and had a significant 26-33 % reduction in [(11)C]yohimbine binding in the hypothalamus, hippocampus and orbital prefrontal cortex compared to saline-treated rats. On the other hand, DOM20 rats had a significant 34-40 % increase in [(11)C]yohimbine binding in the hypothalamus, amygdala and entorhinal cortex compared to saline-treated rats, with no obvious behavioural differences.

CONCLUSIONS: The current data clearly indicate that low concentrations of DOM given to rats in their second week of life induces long-term changes in α2-adrenoceptor binding in rat brain that may have relevance to the progression of an epilepsy phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3779-3785
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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