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    Microcystin-leucine-arginine (MLCR) is a cyanobacterial toxin, and has been demonstrated to cause neurotoxicity. In addition, MCLR has been identified as an inhibitor of protein phosphatase (PP)1 and PP2A, which are known to regulate the phosphorylation of various molecules related to synaptic excitability. Thus, in the present study, we examined whether MCLR exposure affects seizures induced by a low dose of kainic acid (KA; 0.05 μg, i.c.v.) administration. KA-induced seizure occurrence and seizure score significantly increased after repeated exposure to MCLR (2.5 or 5.0 μg/kg, i.p., once a day for 10 days), but not after acute MCLR exposure (2.5 or 5.0 μg/kg, i.p., 2 h and 30 min prior to KA administration), and hippocampal neuronal loss was consistently facilitated by repeated exposure to MCLR. In addition, repeated MCLR significantly elevated the membrane expression of kainate receptor GluK2 subunits, p-pan-protein kinase C (PKC), and p-extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) at 1 h after KA. However, KA-induced membrane expression of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) was significantly reduced by repeated MCLR exposure. Consistent with the enhanced seizures and neurodegeneration, MCLR exposure significantly potentiated KA-induced oxidative stress and microglial activation, which was accompanied by increased expression of p-ERK and p-PKCδ in the hippocampus. The combined results suggest that repeated MCLR exposure potentiates KA-induced excitotoxicity in the hippocampus by increasing membrane GluK2 expression and enhancing oxidative stress and neuroinflammation through the modulation of p-CaMKII, p-PKC, and p-ERK. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Yeonggwang Hwang, Hyoung-Chun Kim, Eun-Joo Shin. Repeated exposure to microcystin-leucine-arginine potentiates excitotoxicity induced by a low dose of kainate. Toxicology. 2021 Aug;460:152887

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    PMID: 34352349

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