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 Cellular and ultrastructural analysis of hippocampal neurons in temporal lobe epilepsy

To characterize the cellular pathology occurring in temporal lobe epilepsies (TLE) we analyzed the morphology of hilar neurons from patients suffering from Ammon's horn sclerosis (AHS), lesion-associated temporal lobe epilepsies (TLE) or tumors without chronic epilepsies using cell injection and immunocytochemical techniques in combination with confocal laserscanning and electron microscopy (Blümcke et al., 1999). Spiny pyramidal and multipolar, non spiny multipolar and mossy cells have been identified as major neuronal cell types in controls and lesion-associated TLE specimens, whereas none of the neurons found in AHS specimens revealed a morphology reminiscent of mossy cells. In AHS, most of pyramidal and multipolar neurons showed extensive dendritic sprouting, dendritic coiling and periodic nodular swellings of dendritic shafts and rarefication of spines. Electron microscopic analysis confirmed the altered cellular morphology in AHS patients, in which an accumulation of cytoskeletal filaments, increased numbers of mitochondria and dysplastic synaptic terminals were the most prominent findings. The striking structural alterations may represent long term consequences of chronic seizures. On the other hand, they may also indicate patterns of cellular reorganization and/or developmental alterations, which precede hippocampal sclerosis and the onset of chronic, pharmacoresistent TLE.


I. Blümcke, O.D. Wiestler, (Univ. Bonn, Med. Ctr., Dept. of Neuropathology),
Ch. Elger (Univ. Bonn, Med Ctr, Dept. of Epileptology)

Transregionaler Sonderforschungsbereich SFB-TR 3

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