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Ectopic expression of neuronal adenosine kinase, a biomarker in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy without hippocampal sclerosis.

AIMS: Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy without hippocampal sclerosis (no-HS MTLE) refers to those MTLE patients who have neither MRI lesions nor definite pathological evidence of hippocampal sclerosis. They usually have resistance to antiepileptic drugs, difficulties in precise seizure location and poor surgical outcomes. Adenosine is a neuroprotective neuromodulator which acts as a seizure terminator in the brain. The role of adenosine in no-HS MTLE is still unclear. Further research to explore the aetiology and pathogenesis of no-HS MTLE may help to find new therapeutic targets.

METHODS: In surgically resected hippocampal specimens, we examined the maladaptive changes of the adenosine system of patients with no-HS MTLE. In order to better understand the dysregulation of the adenosine pathway in no-HS MTLE, we developed a rat model based on the induction of focal cortical lesions through a prenatal freeze injury.

RESULTS: We first examined the adenosine system in no-HS MTLE patients who lack hippocampal neuronal loss and found ectopic expression of the astrocytic adenosine metabolizing enzyme adenosine kinase (ADK) in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, as well as downregulation of neuronal A1 receptors (A1 Rs) in the hippocampus. In the no-HS MTLE model rats, the transition of ADK from neuronal expression to an adult pattern of glial expression in the hippocampus was significantly delayed.

CONCLUSIONS: Ectopic expression of neuronal ADK might be a pathological hallmark of no-HS MTLE. Maladaptive changes in adenosine metabolism might be a novel target for therapeutic intervention in no-HS MTLE.

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