Blood-brain barrier leakage after status epilepticus in rapamycin-treated rats II: Potential mechanisms

Erwin A. van Vliet, Willem M. Otte, Wytse J. Wadman, Eleonora Aronica, Gijs Kooij, Helga E. de Vries, Rick M. Dijkhuizen, Jan A. Gorter

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Blood–brain barrier (BBB) leakage may play a pro‐epileptogenic role after status epilepticus. In the accompanying contrast‐enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CE‐MRI) study we showed that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor rapamycin reduced BBB leakage and seizure activity during the chronic epileptic phase. Given rapamycin's role in growth and immune response, the potential therapeutic effects of rapamycin after status epilepticus with emphasis on brain inflammation and brain vasculature were investigated.


Seven weeks after kainic acid–induced status epilepticus, rats were perfusion fixed and (immuno)histochemistry was performed using several glial and vascular markers. In addition, an in vitro model for the human BBB was used to determine the effects of rapamycin on transendothelial electrical resistance as a measure for BBB integrity.


(Immuno)histochemistry showed that local blood vessel density, activated microglia, and astrogliosis were reduced in rapamycin‐treated rats compared to vehicle‐treated rats. In vitro studies showed that rapamycin could attenuate TNFα‐induced endothelial barrier breakdown.


These data suggest that rapamycin improves BBB function during the chronic epileptic phase by a reduction of local brain inflammation and blood vessel density that can contribute to a milder form of epilepsy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-78
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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