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Rueden, Eva-Lotta von; Wolf, Fabio; Keck, Michael; Gualtieri, Fabio; Nowakowska, Marta; Oglesbee, Michael and Potschka, Heidrun (2018): Genetic Modulation of HSPA1A Accelerates Kindling Progression and Exerts Pro-convulsant Effects. In: Neuroscience, Vol. 386: pp. 108-120

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Strong evidence exists that Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated effects on microglia functional states can promote ictogenesis and epileptogenesis. So far, research has focused on the role of high-mobility group box protein 1 as an activator of TLRs. However, the development of targeting strategies might need to consider a role of additional receptor ligands. Considering the fact that heat shock protein A1 (hsp70) has been confirmed as a TLR 2 and 4 ligand, we have explored the consequences of its overexpression in a mouse kindling paradigm. The genetic modulation enhanced seizure susceptibility with lowered seizure thresholds prior to kindling. In contrast to wildtype (WT) mice, HSPA1A transgenic (TG) mice exhibited generalized seizures very early during the kindling paradigm. Along with an increased seizure severity, seizure duration proved to be prolonged in TG mice during this phase. Toward the end of the stimulation phase seizure parameters of WT mice reached comparable levels. However, a difference between genotypes was still evident when comparing seizure parameters during the post-kindling threshold determination. Surprisingly, HSPA1A overexpression did not affect microglia activation in the hippocampus. In conclusion, the findings demonstrate that hsp70 can exert pro-convulsant effects promoting ictogenesis in naive animals. The pronounced impact on the response to subsequent stimulations gives first evidence that genetic HSPA1A upregulation may also contribute to epileptogenesis. Thus, strategies inhibiting hsp70 or its expression might be of interest for prevention of seizures and epilepsy. However, conclusions about a putative pro-epileptogenic effect of hsp70 require further investigations in models with development of spontaneous recurrent seizures.

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