The neurobiological processes resulting in epilepsy, known as epileptogenesis, are incompletely understood. Manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) can potentially aide in this quest as it provides superior tissue contrast, particularly of the hippocampal subregions. This longitudinal study aims to characterise the changes in the hippocampus of the post kainic acid-induced status epilepticus (KASE) rat model of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy using MEMRI in vivo.
Serial acquisition of T1-weighted MEMRI images were taken before, 2 days and 6 weeks after KASE (10–30 mg/kg, i.p.) in 14 rats and in 11 control rats, while a second cohort of control (N = 6) and epileptic animals (N = 10) was imaged at 2 months post KASE only. MnCl2 (50 mM, 10 μl) was administered in the right lateral ventricle 1 day before scanning. Regions of interest were drawn around the hippocampus and several subregions of the hippocampus (CA1, CA3 and dentate gyrus). Markers of epilepsy such as spontaneous recurrent seizures, hippocampal neuronal loss and mossy fiber sprouting were quantified.
A persistent increase in MEMRI signal intensity was found in the hippocampus, CA1 and dentate gyrus in the KASE group compared to the control group (ANOVA P < 0.05). The intensity signal in the hippocampus and subregions correlated inversely with the frequency of spontaneous recurrent seizures in the chronic epileptic phase, however there was no relationship observed between histopathological changes such as cell loss and mossy fiber sprouting with seizures.
This study demonstrates that MEMRI is able to detect imaging changes in the hippocampus during the course of epileptogenesis relevant for seizure expression. These data strongly indicate a relationship between manganese enhancement and spontaneous seizure outcome, suggesting that MEMRI could provide a preclinical biomarker for the severity of epileptogenesis in vivo in animal models.Highlights
▸ High contrast MEMRI reveals persistent changes during epileptogenesis in the rat. ▸ Manganese-enhancement in the dentate gyrus and CA1 region ▸ Complex inverse relationship between MEMRI intensity and seizure expression ▸ No relationship between histopathological changes and seizure expression ▸ MEMRI as a preclinical biomarker for evaluating disease-modifying treatments