Increased hippocampal AMPA and NMDA receptor subunit immunoreactivity in temporal lobe epilepsy patients

Gary W. Mathern*, James K. Pretorius, Delia Mendoza, Alana Lozada, Joao P. Leite, Leila Chimelli, Itzhak Fried, Americo C. Sakamoto, Joao A. Assirati, P. David Adelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study determined if hippocampal AMPA and NMDA subunit immunoreactivity (IR) in temporal lobe epilepsy patients was increased compared with nonseizure autopsies. Hippocampi from hippocampal sclerosis patients (HS; n = 26) and nonsclerosis cases (non-HS; n = 12) were compared with autopsies (n = 6) and studied for GluR1, GluR2/3, NMDAR1, and NMDAR2 IR gray values (GV) along with fascia dentata and Ammon's horn neuron densities. Compared with autopsies, non-HS cases with similar neuron densities and HS patients with decreased neuron densities showed: (a) Increased GluR1 GVs in the fascia dentata molecular layer; (b) increased NMDAR1 GVs in the CA3-1 stratum radiatum and greater IR within pyramids; and (c) increased GluR2/3 and NMDAR2 GVs throughout all hippocampal subfields. Furthermore, HS patients showed that relative to the outer molecular layer: (a) GluR1 GV differences were decreased in the CA4/hilar region and CA1 stratum radiatum compared with autopsies; and (b) NMDAR2 GV differences were increased in the inner molecular layer compared with non-HS cases. In temporal lobe seizure patients, these results indicate that AMPA and NMDA receptor subunit IR was increased in HS and non-HS hippocampi compared with nonseizure autopsies. In humans, these findings support the hypothesis that glutamate receptor subunits are increased in association with chronic temporal lobe seizures, which may enhance excitatory neurotransmission and seizure susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-634
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex partial seizures
  • Excitatory amino acid receptors
  • NIH image


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