Pinealectomy stimulates and exogenous melatonin inhibits harmful effects of epileptiform activity during pregnancy in the hippocampus of newborn rats: an immunohistochemical study

TURGUT M., Uyanikgil Y. , ATES U., Baka M. , YURTSEVEN M.

CHILDS NERVOUS SYSTEM, vol.22, no.5, pp.481-488, 2006 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00381-005-0012-4
  • Title of Journal : CHILDS NERVOUS SYSTEM
  • Page Numbers: pp.481-488


Objectives: Epilepsy during the pregnancy is an important problem in clinical practice for newborn individuals. Recently, it has been demonstrated that mothers' epileptic seizures have some harmful effects on newborns, but present data concerning the effects of epileptic phenomena in pregnant mothers on newborn pups are still limited. The current study was undertaken to investigate the morphological changes in the hippocampus of newborn pups of pinealectomized rats subjected to experimental epilepsy during pregnancy. Methods: In this study, rats were randomly divided into four groups (ten animals each): intact control group, epilepsy control group, surgical pinealectomy + epilepsy group, and group with melatonin treatment following pinealectomy procedure. The animals in surgical pinealectomy + epilepsy and melatonin treatment groups underwent a surgical intervention consisting of pineal gland removal. At 1 month after surgical pinealectomy, an acute grand mal epileptic seizure was induced by 400 IU penicillin G administration into their hippocampal CA3 region on the 13th day of their pregnancy in all animals except the intact control animals. On the first neonatal day, the hippocampi were removed and processed for microscopic examination. Nestin expression was analysed in the developing hippocampal tissue. Results: Normal migration and hippocampal maturation were determined in the postnatal rat hippocampus in intact control group, but the morphological structure of the hippocampus in the epilepsy control group corresponded to the early embryonal period. It was found that experimental epilepsy and pinealectomy enhanced nestin immunoreactivity, whereas exogenous melatonin treatment (30 mu g/100 g body weight, intraperitoneal) inhibited pinealectomy-stimulated nestin expression in CA1 region of the hippocampus. Conclusions: These findings suggest that epileptic seizures during pregnancy may cause an impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and neuronal maturation in the newborn, and the negative effects in the postnatal rat hippocampus are more dramatic after pinealectomy of the mother; conversely, melatonin administration suppresses these negative changes. This is the first report investigating the effects of maternal epilepsy during pregnancy in pinealectomized rats on nestin immunoexpression in the newborn rat hippocampus.