Recurrent seizure activity has been shown to induce a variety of permanent structural changes in the brain. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) function to promote neuronal plasticity, primarily through cleavage of extracellular matrix proteins. Here, we investigated the role ofMMP-9in the development of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced kindled seizure in mice. Repeated treatment with PTZ (40 mg/kg) produced kindled seizure, which was accompanied by enhanced MMP-9 activity and expression in the hippocampus. No change in MMP-9 activity was observed in the hippocampi of mice with generalized tonic seizure following single administration of PTZ (60 mg/kg). MMP-9 colocalized with the neuronal marker NeuN and the glial marker GFAP in the dentate gyrus of the kindled mouse hippocampus. Coadministration of diazepam or MK-801 with PTZ inhibited the development of kindling and the increased MMP-9 levels in the hippocampus. Marked suppression of kindled seizure progression in response to repeated PTZ treatment was observed in MMP-9(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice, an observation that was accompanied by decreased hippocampal levels of mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Microinjecting the BDNF scavenger TrkB-Fc into the right ventricle before each PTZ treatment significantly suppressed the development of kindling in wild-type mice, whereas no effect was observed in MMP-9(-/-) mice. On the other hand, bilateral injections of pro-BDNF into the hippocampal dentate gyrus significantly enhanced kindling in wild-type mice but not MMP-9(-/-) mice. These findings suggest thatMMP-9is involved in the progression of behavioral phenotypes in kindled mice because of conversion of pro-BDNF to mature BDNF in the hippocampus.
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