Acute seizure (AS) activity in old age has an increased predisposition for evolving into temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Furthermore, spontaneous seizures and cognitive dysfunction after AS activity are often intense in the aged population than in young adults. This could be due to an increased vulnerability of inhibitory interneurons in the aged hippocampus to AS activity. We investigated this issue by comparing the survival of hippocampal GABA-ergic interneurons that contain the neuropeptide Y (NPY) or the calcium binding protein parvalbumin (PV) between young adult (5-months old) and aged (22-months old) F344 rats at 12 days after three-hours of AS activity. Graded intraperitoneal injections of the kainic acid (KA) induced AS activity and a diazepam injection at 3 hours after the onset terminated AS-activity. Measurement of interneuron numbers in different hippocampal subfields revealed that NPY+ interneurons were relatively resistant to AS activity in the aged hippocampus in comparison to the young adult hippocampus. Whereas, PV+ interneurons were highly susceptible to AS activity in both age groups. However, as aging alone substantially depleted these populations, the aged hippocampus after three-hours of AS activity exhibited 48% reductions in NPY+ interneurons and 70% reductions in PV+ interneurons, in comparison to the young hippocampus after similar AS activity. Thus, AS activity-induced TLE in old age is associated with far fewer hippocampal NPY+ and PV+ interneuron numbers than AS-induced TLE in the young adult age. This discrepancy likely underlies the severe spontaneous seizures and cognitive dysfunction observed in the aged people after AS activity.
Kuruba, R., Hattiangady, B., Parihar, V. K., Shuai, B., & Shetty, A. K. (2011). Differential susceptibility of interneurons expressing neuropeptide Y or parvalbumin in the aged hippocampus to acute seizure activity. PLoS ONE, 6(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0024493