Effect of seizures on the cognitive and behavioral phenotypes of mouse models carrying the Scn1a gene mutation : implications for Dravet Syndrome

Abstract : The SCN1A gene codes for the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.1 α-subunit. SCN1A mutations cause genetic epilepsies, as Generalized Epilepsy with Febrile Seizures plus (GEFS+), a mild epilepsy, or Dravet Syndrome (DS), a rare, severe and drug-resistant epileptic encephalopathy (EE). DS patients show severe cognitive/behavioral impairments that, according to the definition of EE, should be caused by the recurrent epileptic activity. Yet, this causal relationship has never been proved and it is been challenged by studies in mouse models showing that the genetic mutation itself, which causes a decrease in GABAergic activity, can be responsible for DS cognitive outcome. We studied the implication of repeated seizures during childhood to the later long-term modifications on cognitive/behavioral and epileptic phenotypes by submitting the Scn1a mouse model carrying the R1648H missense mutation and presenting mild phenotype to a protocol of repeated seizures induction by hyperthermia (10 days/one seizure per day). We observed that early life seizures can worsen the epileptic phenotype and induce cognitive/behavioral defects notably by inducing hyperactivity, sociability deficits and hippocampus- and prefrontal cortex-dependent memory deficits. We found that early life seizures can worsen the epileptic phenotype and induce cognitive/behavioral defects. Although the effect of NaV1.1 dysfunction in altering brain synchrony and the effect of repeated seizure activity in the young brain are not mutually exclusive, we thus conclude that epileptic seizures are sufficient to convert a Scn1a mouse model carrying a mild phenotype into a severe phenotype.
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Ana Rita Salgueiro Pereira. Effect of seizures on the cognitive and behavioral phenotypes of mouse models carrying the Scn1a gene mutation : implications for Dravet Syndrome. Agricultural sciences. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR4019⟩. ⟨tel-02169202⟩

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