Status epilepticus (SE) is a neurological emergency usually accompanied by acute cerebral edema and long-term cognitive impairment, and is characterized by neurodegeneration and aberrant hyperphosphorylated tau protein (p-tau) aggregation. The glia-lymphatic (glymphatic) system plays a central role in facilitating the clearance of metabolic waste from the brain, but its relationship with cerebral edema and cognitive dysfunction after SE is unclear. We hypothesized that cerebral edema after SE might impair glymphatic system function through compression, thus leading to impaired removal of metabolic waste, and ultimately affecting long-term cognitive function. Our results showed that glymphatic system function was temporarily impaired, as evidenced by 2-photon imaging, MRI enhancement, imaging of brain sections, and astrocytic water channel aquaporin 4 (AQP4) protein polarization. The severity of cerebral edema on MRI correlated well with glymphatic system dysfunction within 8 days following SE. Moreover, when cerebral edema was alleviated by glibenclamide treatment or genetic deletion of Trpm4, post-SE glymphatic system function recovered earlier, along with fewer p-tau–deposited neurons and neuronal degeneration and better cognitive function. These findings suggest that SE-induced cerebral edema may cause glymphatic system dysfunction and render the post-SE brain vulnerable to p-tau aggregation and neurocognitive impairment.


Kewei Liu, Juan Zhu, Yuan Chang, Zhenzhou Lin, Zhu Shi, Xing Li, Xing Chen, Chuman Lin, Suyue Pan, Kaibin Huang


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