Changes in expression of neuronal and glial glutamate transporters in rat hippocampus following kainate-induced seizure activity

Rabi Simantov, Marianna Crispino, Warren Hoe, Greg Broutman, Georges Tocco, Jeffrey D. Rothstein, Michel Baudry

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86 Scopus citations


The expression of excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) in rat hippocampus was studied following kainic acid-induced seizure activity in vivo and in hippocampal slice cultures. Protein and mRNA levels of the glial (EAAT2) and neuronal (EAAT3) transporters were determined with affinity- purified antibodies and oligonucleotide probes, respectively. Kainate treatment decreased EAAT3 immunoreactivity in stratum lacunosum moleculare within 4 h of seizure onset. Upon pyramidal cell death (5 days after kainate treatment), EAAT3 immunoreactivity in stratum pyramidale of CA1 and in stratum lacunosum moleculare was almost completely eliminated. The rapid effect of kainate on EAAT3 expression was confirmed by in situ hybridization; EAAT3 mRNA levels were decreased in CA1 and CA3 regions within 4-8 h of seizure onset. Kainate treatment had an opposite effect on levels and expression of EAAT2. Developmental studies indicated that the rapid regulation of transporter expression was not observed in rats younger than 21 days, an observation congruent with previous reports regarding the resistance of young rats to kainate. In hippocampal organotypic cultures, which lack a major excitatory input from the entorhinal cortex, kainate produced a slow decrease in [3H]D-aspartate uptake. This study indicates that an early effect of kainate treatment consists of down-regulation of the neuronal transporter EAAT3 in restricted hippocampal regions, together with a modest increase in the expression of the glial transporter EAAT2. Differential regulation of neuronal and glial glutamate transporters may thus play a role in kainate-induced seizure, neurotoxicity and neuronal plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 19 1999


  • Cell death
  • Excitatory amino acid
  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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