Proliferative hippocampal activity in a group of patients with Rasmussen’s encephalitis: Neuronal, glial, and BDNF tissue expression correlations

Publication date: May 2018Source:Epilepsy & Behavior, Volume 82
Author(s): Elane N. Magno
Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) is a rare and devastating unilateral inflammatory brain disease that causes severe and intractable partial epilepsy. It has been shown that epilepsy and subsequent inflammation have deleterious influence on hippocampal cell survival and neurogenesis, but this still has not been systematically explored in human tissue. In this study, we investigated the correlation between inflammation and epilepsy as well as the rates of hippocampal gliogenesis and neurogenesis in a pediatric group of six patients with RE and six control cases. The dentate gyrus (DG) samples were obtained from patients who underwent surgery for intractable RE. Sections were processed for immunohistochemistry using antibodies against sex determining region Y-box 2 (Sox2), nestin, human protein encoded by MKI67 gen (Ki67), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). There was an increase in the number of Ki67-positive granule cells in the DG of patients with RE in comparison with the autopsy control group, but no statistical difference for Sox2-positive cells was observed between these groups. Nestin immunolabeling was less intense in the RE group while BDNF expression was increased. Neurons that were BDNF-positive were found in DG from patients with RE but not in the control group. In patients with RE, few nestin-positive cells in DG were also positive for BDNF, unlike in controls which showed no colocalization for these two markers. These results suggest a proliferation activity in the DG subfield of patients with RE, and also future studies are necessary to address the role of new cells in the hippocampus of patients with RE.