Altered expression of signaling pathways regulating neuronal excitability in hippocampal tissue of temporal lobe epilepsy patients with low and high seizure frequency

Michael F. Hammer, Ryan Sprissler, Robert W. Bina, Branden Lau, Laurel Johnstone, Christina M. Walter, David M. Labiner, Martin E. Weinand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Despite recent advances in our understanding of synaptic transmission associated with epileptogenesis, the molecular mechanisms that control seizure frequency in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) remain obscure. RNA-Seq was performed on hippocampal tissue resected from 12 medically intractable TLE patients with pre-surgery seizure frequencies ranging from 0.33 to 120 seizures per month. Differential expression (DE) analysis of individuals with low (LSF, mean = 4 seizure/month) versus high (HSF, mean = 60 seizures/month) seizure frequency identified 979 genes with ≥2-fold change in transcript abundance (FDR-adjusted p-value ö0.05). Comparisons with post-mortem controls revealed a large number of downregulated genes in the HSF (1676) versus LSF (399) groups. More than 50 signaling pathways were inferred to be deactivated or activated, with Signal Transduction as the central hub in the pathway network. While neuroinflammation pathways were activated in both groups, key neuronal system pathways were systematically deactivated in the HSF group, including calcium, CREB and Opioid signaling. We also infer that enhanced expression of a signaling cascade promoting synaptic downscaling may have played a key role in maintaining a higher seizure threshold in the LSF cohort. These results suggest that therapeutic approaches targeting synaptic scaling pathways may aid in the treatment of seizures in TLE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106145
JournalEpilepsy Research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019



  • Hippocampus
  • Pathway analysis
  • RNA-seq
  • Seizure frequency
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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