Extensive activation of glial cells during a latent period has been well documented in various animal models of epilepsy. However, it remains unclear whether activated glial cells contribute to epileptogenesis; i.e., the chronically persistent process leading to epilepsy. Particularly, it is not clear whether inter-glial communication between different types of glial cells contributes to epileptogenesis, as past literature mainly focused on one type of glial cell. Here, we show that temporally distinct activation profiles of microglia and astrocytes collaboratively contribute to epileptogenesis in a drug-induced status epilepticus model. We found that reactive microglia appeared first, followed by reactive astrocytes and increased susceptibility to seizures. Reactive astrocytes exhibited larger Ca2+ signals mediated by IP3R2, whereas deletion of this type of Ca2+ signaling reduced seizure susceptibility after status epilepticus. Immediate, but not late, pharmacological inhibition of microglial activation prevented subsequent reactive astrocytes, aberrant astrocyte Ca2+ signaling, and the enhanced seizure susceptibility. These findings indicate that the sequential activation of glial cells constitutes a cause of epileptogenesis after status epilepticus. Thus, our findings suggest that the therapeutic target to prevent epilepsy after status epilepticus should be shifted from microglia (early phase) to astrocytes (late phase).
Fumikazu Sano, Eiji Shigetomi, Youichi Shinozaki, Haruka Tsuzukiyama, Kozo Saito, Katsuhiko Mikoshiba, Hiroshi Horiuchi, Dennis Lawrence Cheung, Junichi Nabekura, Kanji Sugita, Masao Aihara, Schuichi Koizumi