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      Specific subcortical structures are activated during seizure-induced death in a model of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP): A manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging study

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      Epilepsy Research
      Elsevier BV

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          Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a major concern for patients with epilepsy. In most witnessed cases of SUDEP generalized seizures and respiratory failure preceded death, and pre-mortem neuroimaging studies in SUDEP patients observed changes in specific subcortical structures. Our study examined the role of subcortical structures in the DBA/1 mouse model of SUDEP using manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI). These mice exhibit acoustically-evoked generalized seizures leading to seizure-induced respiratory arrest (S-IRA) that results in sudden death unless resuscitation is rapidly instituted. MEMRI data in the DBA/1 mouse brain immediately after acoustically-induced S-IRA were compared to data in C57 (control) mice that were exposed to the same acoustic stimulus that did not trigger seizures. The animals were anesthetized and decapitated immediately after seizure in DBA/1 mice and after an equivalent time in control mice. Comparative T1 weighted MEMRI images were evaluated using a 14T MRI scanner and quantified. We observed significant increases in activity in DBA/1 mice as compared to controls at previously-implicated auditory (superior olivary complex) and sensorimotor-limbic [periaqueductal gray (PAG) and amygdala] networks and also in structures in the respiratory network. The activity at certain raphe nuclei was also increased, suggesting activation of serotonergic mechanisms. These data are consistent with previous findings that enhancing the action of serotonin prevents S-IRA in this SUDEP model. Increased activity in the PAG and the respiratory and raphe nuclei suggest that compensatory mechanisms for apnea may have been activated by S-IRA, but they were not sufficient to prevent death. The present findings indicate that changes induced by S-IRA in specific subcortical structures in DBA/1 mice are consistent with human SUDEP findings. Understanding the changes in brain activity during seizure-induced death in animals may lead to improved approaches directed at prevention of human SUDEP.

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          Epilepsy Research
          Epilepsy Research
          Elsevier BV
          September 2017
          September 2017
          : 135
          : 87-94
          © 2017




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