Center for Systems Neuroscience

Hannover, Germany

Center for Systems Neuroscience

Hannover, Germany
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews | Year: 2010

Circling or rotational behavior is the most studied indicator of cerebral asymmetry in the rat. In humans, disturbances in cerebral asymmetry are involved in the etiology of several psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Abnormal rotational behavior in rodents is indicative of either an imbalance of forebrain dopamine systems, particularly an imbalance of nigrostriatal function, or an inner ear disease affecting the vestibular (balance) system. Abnormally enhanced circling behavior has been described in several mutant rat and mouse strains both with and without defects of the vestibular system. However, the relationship between vestibular defects and lateralized circling in rodents is only incompletely understood. In this review, we describe and discuss various spontaneous mutations associated with abnormal circling behavior in different rat strains and their potential relevance to model specific brain dysfunctions. The circling rat mutants described in this review illustrate how genetic animal models may serve to study multifaceted brain functions and dysfunctions, including disorders of the basal ganglia and vestibular system. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience | Puskarjov M.,University of Helsinki | Kaila K.,University of Helsinki
Neuropharmacology | Year: 2013

In cortical and hippocampal neurons, cation-chloride cotransporters (CCCs) control the reversal potential (EGABA) of GABAA receptor-mediated current and voltage responses and, consequently, they modulate the efficacy of GABAergic inhibition. Two members of the CCC family, KCC2 (the major neuron-specific K-Cl cotransporter; KCC isoform 2) and NKCC1 (the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter isoform 1 which is expressed in both neurons and glial cells) have attracted much interest in studies on GABAergic signaling under both normal and pathophysiological conditions, such as epilepsy. There is tentative evidence that loop diuretic compounds such as furosemide and bumetanide may have clinically relevant antiepileptic actions, especially when administered in combination with conventional GABA-mimetic drugs such as phenobarbital. Furosemide is a non-selective inhibitor of CCCs while at low concentrations bumetanide is selective for NKCCs. Search for novel antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is highly motivated especially for the treatment of neonatal seizures which are often resistant to, or even aggravated by conventional AEDs. This review shows that the antiepileptic effects of loop diuretics described in the pertinent literature are based on widely heterogeneous mechanisms ranging from actions on both neuronal NKCC1 and KCC2 to modulation of the brain extracellular volume fraction. A promising strategy for the development of novel CCC-blocking AEDs is based on prodrugs that are activated following their passage across the blood-brain barrier. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'New Targets and Approaches to the Treatment of Epilepsy'. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Gudi V.,Hannover Medical School | Gingele S.,Hannover Medical School | Skripuletz T.,Hannover Medical School | Stangel M.,Hannover Medical School | Stangel M.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Although astrogliosis and microglia activation are characteristic features of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other central nervous system (CNS) lesions the exact functions of these events are not fully understood. Animal models help to understand the complex interplay between the different cell types of the CNS and uncover general mechanisms of damage and repair of myelin sheaths. The so called cuprizone model is a toxic model of demyelination in the CNS white and gray matter, which lacks an autoimmune component. Cuprizone induces apoptosis of mature oligodendrocytes that leads to a robust demyelination and profound activation of both astrocytes and microglia with regional heterogeneity between different white and gray matter regions. Although not suitable to study autoimmune mediated demyelination, this model is extremely helpful to elucidate basic cellular and molecular mechanisms during de- and particularly remyelination independently of interactions with peripheral immune cells. Phagocytosis and removal of damaged myelin seems to be one of the major roles of microglia in this model and it is well known that removal of myelin debris is a prerequisite of successful remyelination. Furthermore, microglia provide several signals that support remyelination. The role of astrocytes during de- and remyelination is not well defined. Both supportive and destructive functions have been suggested. Using the cuprizone model we could demonstrate that there is an important crosstalk between astrocytes and microglia. In this review we focus on the role of glial reactions and interaction in the cuprizone model. Advantages and limitations of as well as its potential therapeutic relevance for the human disease MS are critically discussed in comparison to other animal models. © 2014 Gudi, Gingele, Skripuletz and Stangel.


Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Seizure | Year: 2011

Animal models for seizures and epilepsy have played a fundamental role in advancing our understanding of basic mechanisms underlying ictogenesis and epileptogenesis and have been instrumental in the discovery and preclinical development of novel antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). However, there is growing concern that the efficacy of drug treatment of epilepsy has not substantially improved with the introduction of new AEDs, which, at least in part, may be due to the fact that the same simple screening models, i.e., the maximal electroshock seizure (MES) and s.c. pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) seizure tests, have been used as gatekeepers in AED discovery for >6 decades. It has been argued that these old models may identify only drugs that share characteristics with existing drugs, and are unlikely to have an effect on refractory epilepsies. Indeed, accumulating evidence with several novel AEDs, including levetiracetan, has shown that the MES and PTZ models do not identify all potential AEDs but instead may fail to discover compounds that have great potential efficacy but work through mechanisms not tested by these models. Awareness of the limitations of acute seizure models comes at a critical crossroad. Clearly, preclinical strategies of AED discovery and development need a conceptual shift that is moving away from using models that identify therapies for the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy to those that may be useful for identifying therapies that are more effective in the refractory population and that may ultimately lead to an effective cure in susceptible individuals by interfering with the processes underlying epilepsy. To realize this goal, the molecular mechanisms of the next generation of therapies must necessarily evolve to include targets that contribute to epileptogenesis and pharmacoresistance in relevant epilepsy models. © 2011 British Epilepsy Association.


Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2015

Drug-refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a major medical emergency with a mortality of up to 40% and the risk of severe long-term consequences. The mechanisms involved in RSE are incompletely understood. Animal models are important in developing treatment strategies for more effective termination of SE and prevention of its long-term outcomes. The pilocarpine and lithium-pilocarpine rat models are widely used in this respect. In these models, resistance to diazepam and other antiseizure drugs (ASDs) develops during SE so that an SE that is longer than 30 min is difficult to suppress. Furthermore, because all ASDs used in SE treatment are much more rapidly eliminated by rodents than by humans, SE recurs several hours after ASD treatment. Long-term consequences include hippocampal damage, behavioral alterations, and epilepsy with spontaneous recurrent seizures. In this review, different rational polytherapies for SE, which are more effective than monotherapies, are discussed, including a novel polytherapy recently developed by our group. Based on data from diverse seizure models, we hypothesized that cholinergic mechanisms are involved in the mechanisms underlying ASD resistance of SE. We, therefore, developed an intravenous drug cocktail, consisting of diazepam, phenobarbital, and the anticholinergic scopolamine. This drug combination irreversibly terminated SE when administered 60, 90, or 120 min after SE onset. The efficacy of this cocktail in terminating SE was comparable with the previously reported efficacy of polytherapies with the glutamate receptor antagonist ketamine. Furthermore, when injected 60 min after SE onset, the scopolamine-containing cocktail prevented development of epilepsy and hippocampal neurodegeneration, which was not observed with high doses of diazepam or a combination of phenobarbital and diazepam. Our data add to the existing preclinical evidence that rational polytherapy can be more effective than monotherapy in the treatment of SE and that combinatorial therapy may offer a clinically useful option for the treatment of RSE. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Brandt C.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Epilepsia | Year: 2010

Purpose: Progress in the management of patients with medically intractable epilepsy is impeded because we do not fully understand why pharmacoresistance happens and how it can be predicted. The presence of multiple seizures prior to medical treatment has been suggested as a potential predictor of poor outcome. In the present study, we used an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy to investigate whether pharmacoresistant rats differ in seizure frequency from pharmacoresponsive animals. Methods: Epilepsy with spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS) was induced by status epilepticus. Frequency of SRS was determined by video/EEG (electroencephalography) monitoring in a total of 33 epileptic rats before onset of treatment with phenobarbital (PB). Results: Thirteen (39%) rats did not respond to treatment with PB. Before treatment with PB, average seizure frequency in PB nonresponders was significantly higher than seizure frequency in responders, which, however, was due to six nonresponders that exhibited > 3 seizures per day. Such high seizure frequency was not observed in responders, demonstrating that high seizure frequency predicts pharmacoresistance in this model, but does not occur in all nonresponders. Discussion: The data from this study are in line with clinical experience that the frequency of seizures in the early phase of epilepsy is a dominant risk factor that predicts refractoriness. However, resistance to treatment also occurred in rats that did not differ in seizure frequency from responders, indicating that disease severity alone is not sufficient to explain antiepileptic drug (AED) resistance. These data provide further evidence that epilepsy models are useful in the search for predictors and mechanisms of pharmacoresistance. © 2009 International League Against Epilepsy.


Broer S.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2015

The discovery and validation of biomarkers in neurological and neurodegenerative diseases is an important challenge for early diagnosis of disease and for the development of therapeutics. Epilepsy is often a consequence of brain insults such as traumatic brain injury or stroke, but as yet no biomarker exists to predict the development of epilepsy in patients at risk. Given the complexity of epilepsy, it is unlikely that a single biomarker is sufficient for this purpose, but a combinatorial approach may be needed to overcome the challenge of individual variability and disease heterogeneity. The goal of the present prospective study in the lithium-pilocarpine model of epilepsy in rats was to determine the discriminative utility of combinations of phenotypic biomarkers by examining their ability to predict epilepsy. For this purpose, we used a recent model refinement that allows comparing rats that will or will not develop spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS) after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE). Potential biomarkers included in our study were seizure threshold and seizure severity in response to timed i.v. infusion of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and behavioral alterations determined by a battery of tests during the three weeks following SE. Three months after SE, video/EEG monitoring was used to determine which rats had developed SRS. To determine whether a biomarker or combination of biomarkers performed better than chance at predicting epilepsy after SE, derived data underwent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses. When comparing rats with and without SRS and sham controls, the best intergroup discrimination was obtained by combining all measurements, resulting in a ROC area under curve (AUC) of 0.9592 (P. <. 0.01), indicating an almost perfect discrimination or accuracy to predict development of SRS. These data indicate that a combinatorial biomarker approach may overcome the challenge of individual variability in the prediction of epilepsy. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


White H.S.,University of Utah | Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Neurotherapeutics | Year: 2014

A major unmet medical need is the lack of treatments to prevent (or modify) epilepsy in patients at risk, for example, after epileptogenic brain insults such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, or prolonged acute symptomatic seizures like complex febrile seizures or status epilepticus. Typically, following such brain insults there is a seizure-free interval ("latent period"), lasting months to years before the onset of spontaneous recurrent epileptic seizures. The latent period after a brain insult offers a window of opportunity in which an appropriate treatment may prevent or modify the epileptogenic process induced by a brain insult. A similar latent period occurs in patients with epileptogenic gene mutations. Studies using animal models of epilepsy have led to a greater understanding of the factors underlying epileptogenesis and have provided significant insight into potential targets by which the development of epilepsy may be prevented or modified. This review focuses largely on some of the most common animal models of epileptogenesis and their potential utility for evaluating proposed antiepileptogenic therapies and identifying useful biomarkers. The authors also describe some of the limitations of using animal models in the search for therapies that move beyond the symptomatic treatment of epilepsy. Promising results of previous studies designed to evaluate antiepileptogenesis and the role of monotherapy versus polytherapy approaches are also discussed. Recent data from both models of genetic and acquired epilepsies strongly indicate that it is possible to prevent or modify epileptogenesis, and, hopefully, such promising results can ultimately be translated into the clinic. © 2014 The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc.


Rundfeldt C.,Drug Consult.Net | Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Loscher W.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
CNS Drugs | Year: 2014

Although benzodiazepines (BZDs) offer a wide spectrum of antiepileptic activity against diverse types of epileptic seizures, their use in the treatment of epilepsy is limited because of adverse effects, loss of efficacy (tolerance), and development of physical and psychological dependence. BZDs act as positive allosteric modulators of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA by binding to the BZD recognition site ("BZD receptor") of the GABA A receptor. Traditional BZDs such as diazepam or clonazepam act as full agonists at this site, so that one strategy to resolve the disadvantages of these compounds would be the development of partial agonists with lower intrinsic efficacy at the BZD site of the GABAA receptor. Several BZD site partial or subtype selective compounds, including bretazenil, abecarnil, or alpidem, have been developed as anxioselective anxiolytic drugs, but epilepsy was not a target indication for such compounds. More recently, the imidazolone derivatives imepitoin (ELB138) and ELB139 were shown to act as low-affinity partial agonists at the BZD site of the GABAA receptor, and imepitoin was developed for the treatment of epilepsy. Imepitoin displayed a broad spectrum of anticonvulsant activity in diverse seizure and epilepsy models at tolerable doses, and, as expected from its mechanism of action, lacked tolerance and abuse liability in rodent and primate models. The more favorable pharmacokinetic profile of imepitoin in dogs versus humans led to the decision to develop imepitoin for the treatment of canine epilepsy. Based on randomized controlled trials that demonstrated antiepileptic efficacy and high tolerability and safety in epileptic dogs, the drug was recently approved for this indication in Europe. Hopefully, the favorable profile of imepitoin for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs will reactivate the interest in partial BZD site agonists as new treatments for human epilepsy. © 2013 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Loscher W.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Brandt C.,Center for Systems Neuroscience
Pharmacological Reviews | Year: 2010

Diverse brain insults, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, infections, tumors, neurodegenerative diseases, and prolonged acute symptomatic seizures, such as complex febrile seizures or status epilepticus (SE), can induce "epileptogenesis," a process by which normal brain tissue is transformed into tissue capable of generating spontaneous recurrent seizures. Furthermore, epileptogenesis operates in cryptogenic causes of epilepsy. In view of the accumulating information about cellular and molecular mechanisms of epileptogenesis, it should be possible to intervene in this process before the onset of seizures and thereby either prevent the development of epilepsy in patients at risk or increase the potential for better long-term outcome, which constitutes a major clinical need. For identifying pharmacological interventions that prevent, interrupt or reverse the epileptogenic process in people at risk, two groups of animal models, kindling and SE-induced recurrent seizures, have been recommended as potentially useful tools. Furthermore, genetic rodent models of epileptogenesis are increasingly used in assessing antiepileptogenic treatments. Two approaches have been used in these different model categories: screening of clinically established antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) for antiepileptogenic or disease-modifying potential, and targeting the key causal mechanisms that underlie epileptogenesis. The first approach indicated that among various AEDs, topiramate, levetiracetam, carisbamate, and valproate may be the most promising. On the basis of these experimental findings, two ongoing clinical trials will address the antiepileptogenic potential of topiramate and levetiracetam in patients with traumatic brain injury, hopefully translating laboratory discoveries into successful therapies. The second approach has highlighted neurodegeneration, inflammation and up-regulation of immune responses, and neuronal hyperexcitability as potential targets for antiepileptogenesis or disease modification. This article reviews these areas of progress and discusses the challenges associated with discovery of antiepileptogenic therapies. Copyright © 2010 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

Loading Center for Systems Neuroscience collaborators
Loading Center for Systems Neuroscience collaborators