Ryley Parrish R, Albertson AJ, Buckingham SC, Hablitz JJ, Mascia KL, Davis Haselden W, Lubin FD
Status epilepticus (SE) triggers abnormal expression of genes in the hippocampus, such as glutamate receptor subunit epsilon-2 (Grin2b/Nr2b) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf), that is thought to occur in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). We examined the underlying DNA methylation mechanisms and investigated whether these mechanisms contribute to the expression of these gene targets in the epileptic hippocampus. Experimental TLE was provoked by kainic acid-induced SE. Bisulfite sequencing analysis revealed increased Grin2b/Nr2b and decreased Bdnf DNA methylation levels that corresponded to decreased Grin2b/Nr2b and increased Bdnf mRNA and protein expression in the epileptic hippocampus. Blockade of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity with zebularine decreased global DNA methylation levels and reduced Grin2b/Nr2b, but not Bdnf, DNA methylation levels. Interestingly, we found that DNMT blockade further decreased Grin2b/Nr2b mRNA expression whereas GRIN2B protein expression increased in the epileptic hippocampus, suggesting that a posttranscriptional mechanism may be involved. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis we found that DNMT inhibition restored the decreases in AP2alpha transcription factor levels at the Grin2b/Nr2b promoter in the epileptic hippocampus. DNMT inhibition increased field excitatory postsynaptic potential in hippocampal slices isolated from epileptic rats. Electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring confirmed that DNMT inhibition did not significantly alter the disease course, but promoted the latency to seizure onset or SE. Thus, DNA methylation may be an early event triggered by SE that persists late into the epileptic hippocampus to contribute to gene expression changes in TLE.