Objectives: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) potently suppresses spike-wave discharges (SWDs) in a genetic rat model of absence epilepsy (GAERS), but the underlying neurophysiologic mechanisms are not clear. We therefore sought to determine the in vivo effects of NPY on neuronal firing in the cortico-thalamo-cortical network activity, known to play a critical role in the generation of SWDs in these rats. Methods: NPY was administered intracerebroventricularly (ICV) or in separate experiments locally on the neurons of caudal thalamic reticular nucleus (NRT) by use of juxtacellular iontophoresis in triple-barrel electrodes in male GAERS aged 12-15 weeks, in vivo under neuroleptic anesthesia. Drug infusions and electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring were performed simultaneously with juxtacellular single neuronal recordings. Effect of NPY on electrically induced SWD induction threshold were also measured. Results: NPY administration ICV led to a decrease in the total length of SWDs in EEG recordings. Both ICV administration and iontophoresis of NPY on NRT neurons led to an increase in interictal neuronal firing of NRT neurons. During ictal periods, ICV NPY administration reduced the number of thalamic action potentials per SWDs, as well as reduced waveform correlations between field potentials within the NRT and the cortical EEG. NPY administration ICV did not significantly alter the firing patterns of relay thalamic neurons interictally and cortical neurons during ictal and interictal periods. In addition, SWD induction threshold in the S2 region of the cortex was significantly increased after NPY administration. Significance: Our results show alterations in cortico-thalamo-cortical local and network properties following ICV administration of NPY, suggesting mechanisms of SWD suppression in GAERS. Cellular and network alteration of NRT activity, resulting from a direct action of NPY, may be a contributor to this effect.
- genetic absence epilepsy rats from Strasbourg
- neuronal firing
- neuropeptide Y
- nucleus reticular thalamus
- spike-wave discharges