Hippocampal GABA and glutamate transporter immunoreactivity in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy

Gary W. Mathern*, D. Mendoza, A. Lozada, J. K. Pretorius, Y. Dehnes, N. C. Danbolt, N. Nelson, J. P. Leite, L. Chimelli, D. E. Born, A. C. Sakamoto, J. A. Assirati, I. Fried, W. J. Peacock, G. A. Ojemann, P. D. Adelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Scopus citations


Objective: Sodium-coupled transporters remove extracellular neurotransmitters and alterations in their function could enhance or suppress synaptic transmission and seizures. This study determined hippocampal gammaaminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate transporter immunoreactivity (IR) in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients. Methods: Hippocampal sclerosis (HS) patients (n = 25) and non-HS cases (mass lesion and cryptogenic; n = 20) were compared with nonseizure autopsies (n = 8). Hippocampal sections were studied for neuron densities along with IR for glutamate decarboxylase (GAD; presynaptic GABA terminals), GABA transporter-1 (GAT-l; presynaptic GABA transporter), GAT-3 (astrocytic GABA transporter), excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3; postsynaptic glutamate transporter), and EAAT2-1 (glial glutamate transporters). Results: Compared with autopsies, non-HS cases with similar neuron counts showed: 1) increased GAD IR gray values (GV) in the fascia dentata outer molecular layer (OML), hilus, and stratum radiatum; 2) increased GAT-1 OML GVs; 3) increased astrocytic GAT-3 GVs in the hilus and Ammon's horn; and 4) no IR differences for EAAT3-1. HS patients with decreased neuron densities demonstrated: 1) increased OML and inner molecular layer GAD puncta; 2) decreased GAT-1 puncta relative to GAD in the stratum granulosum and pyramidale; 3) increased GAT-1 OML GVs; 4) decreased GAT-3 GVs; 5) increased EAAT3 IR on remaining granule cells and pyramids; 6) decreased glial EAAT2 GVs in the hilus and CA1 stratum radiatum associated with neuron loss; and 7) increased glial EAAT1 GVs in CA2/3 stratum radiatum. Conclusions: Hippocampal GABA and glutamate transporter IR differ in TLE patients compared with autopsies. These data support the hypothesis that excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission and seizure susceptibility could be altered by neuronal and glial transporters in TLE patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-472
Number of pages20
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1999


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeK08NS001603


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