Microglia PACAP and glutamate: Friends or foes in seizure-induced autonomic dysfunction and SUDEP?

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Bhandare AM, Kapoor K, Farnham MM, et al. (2016) Microglia PACAP and glutamate: Friends or foes in seizure-induced autonomic dysfunction and SUDEP? Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2016 Jun;226:39-50.

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Abstract: Seizure-induced cardiorespiratory autonomic dysfunction is a major cause of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), and the underlying mechanism is unclear. Seizures lead to increased synthesis, and release of glutamate, pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP), and other neurotransmitters, and cause extensive activation of microglia at multiple regions in the brain including central autonomic cardiorespiratory brainstem nuclei. Glutamate contributes to neurodegeneration, and inflammation in epilepsy. PACAP has neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties, whereas microglia are key players in inflammatory responses in CNS. Seizure-induced increase in PACAP is neuroprotective. PACAP produces neuroprotective effects acting on microglial PAC1 and VPAC1 receptors. Microglia also express glutamate transporters, and their expression can be increased by PACAP in response to harmful or stressful situations such as seizures. Here we discuss the mechanism of autonomic cardiorespiratory dysfunction in seizure, and the role of PACAP, glutamate and microglia in regulating cardiorespiratory brainstem neurons in their physiological state that could provide future therapeutic options for SUDEP.

Keywords: Cardiorespiratory system; Glutamate; Inflammation; Microglia; PACAP; SUDEP; Seizure; Ventrolateral medulla

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