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BACKGROUND: Current drugs for epilepsy affect seizures, but no antiepileptogenic or disease-modifying drugs are available that prevent or slow down epileptogenesis, which is characterized by neuronal cell loss, inflammation and aberrant network formation. Ghrelin and ghrelin receptor (ghrelin-R) agonists were previously found to exert anticonvulsant, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects in seizure models and immediately after status epilepticus (SE). Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess whether the ghrelin-R agonist macimorelin is antiepileptogenic in the pharmacoresistant intrahippocampal kainic acid (IHKA) mouse model.
METHODS: SE was induced in C57BL/6 mice by unilateral IHKA injection. Starting 24 h after SE, mice were treated intraperitoneally with macimorelin (5 mg/kg) or saline twice daily for 2 weeks, followed by a 2-week wash-out. Mice were continuously electroencephalogram-monitored, and at the end of the experiment neuroprotection and gliosis were assessed.
RESULTS: Macimorelin significantly decreased the number and duration of seizures during the treatment period, but had no antiepileptogenic or disease-modifying effect in this dose regimen. While macimorelin did not significantly affect food intake or body weight over a 2-week treatment period, its acute orexigenic effect was preserved in epileptic mice but not in sham mice.
CONCLUSIONS: While the full ghrelin-R agonist macimorelin was not significantly antiepileptogenic nor disease-modifying, this is the first study to demonstrate its anticonvulsant effects in the IHKA model of drug-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy. These findings highlight the potential use of macimorelin as a novel treatment option for seizure suppression in pharmacoresistant epilepsy.
Bibliographical note© 2021 European Academy of Neurology.
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