Astrocytes have been implicated in epileptogenesis and seizure-induced brain injury. Pathological studies reveal a variety of structural abnormalities in astrocytes, such as vacuolization and astrogliosis. While in vivo imaging methods have demonstrated rapid changes in astrocytes under a variety of physiological and pathological conditions, the acute effects of seizures on astrocyte morphology in vivo and corresponding mechanisms of seizure-induced astrocytic injury have not been documented. In this study, we utilized in vivo two-photon imaging to directly monitor the acute structural effects of kainate-induced seizures on cortical astrocytes. Kainate seizures cause an immediate, but transient, vacuolization of astrocytes, followed over several days by astrogliosis. These effects are prevented by pre- or post-treatment with rapamycin, indicating the mTOR pathway is involved in mediating seizureinduced astrocyte injury. These finding have clinical implications for mechanisms of seizure-induced astrocyte injury and potential therapeutic applications with mTOR inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2867
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


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