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Physiological brain temperature is an important determinant of brain function, and it is well established that changes in brain temperature dynamically influence hippocampal neuronal activity. We previously demonstrated that the thermosensor TRPV4 is activated at physiological brain temperature in hippocampal neurons thereby controlling neuronal excitability in vitro. Here, we examined whether TRPV4 regulates neuronal excitability through its activation by brain temperature in vivo. We locally cooled the hippocampus using our novel electrical device and demonstrated constitutive TRPV4 activation in normal mouse brain. We generated a model of partial epilepsy by utilizing kindling stimuli in the ventral hippocampus of wild type (WT) or TRPV4-deficient (TRPV4KO) mice and obtained electroencephalograms (EEG). The frequencies of epileptic EEG in WT mice were significantly larger than those in TRPV4KO mice. These results indicate that TRPV4 activation is involved in disease progression of epilepsy. We expected that disease progression would enhance hyperexcitability and lead to hyperthermia in the epileptogenic foci. To confirm this hypothesis, we developed a new device to measure exact brain temperature only in a restricted local area. From the recording results by the new device, we found that the brain temperatures in epileptogenic zones were dramatically elevated compared with normal regions. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the temperature elevation was critical for disease progression. Based on these results, we speculate that brain cooling treatment at epileptogenic foci would effectively suppress epileptic discharges through inhibition of TRPV4. Notably, the cooling treatment drastically suppressed neuronal discharges dependent on the inactivation of TRPV4.


Koji Shibasaki, Katsuya Yamada, Hideki Miwa, Yuchio Yanagawa, Michiyasu Suzuki, Makoto Tominaga, Yasuki Ishizaki. Temperature elevation in epileptogenic foci exacerbates epileptic discharge through TRPV4 activation. Laboratory investigation; a journal of technical methods and pathology. 2020 Feb;100(2):274-284

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PMID: 31641226

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