Epilepsy is a common disorder, typified by recurrent seizures with underlying neurological disorders or disease. Approximately one-third of patients are unresponsive to currently available therapies. Thus, a deeper understanding of the genetics and etiology of epilepsy is needed to advance the development of new therapies. Previously, treatment of zebrafish with epilepsy-inducing pharmacological agents was shown to result in a seizure-like phenotype, suggesting that fish provide a tractable model to understand the function of epilepsy-predisposing genes. Here, we report the first model of genetically linked epilepsy in zebrafish and provide an initial characterization of the behavioral and neurological phenotypes associated with morpholino (MO) knockdown of leucine-rich, glioma-inactivated 1a (lgi1a) expression. Mutations in the LGI1 gene in humans have been shown to predispose to a subtype of autosomal dominant epilepsy. Low-dose Lgi1a MO knockdown fish (morphants) appear morphologically normal but are sensitized to epilepsy-inducing drugs. High-dose Lgi1a morphants have morphological defects which persist into adult stages that are typified by smaller brains and eyes and abnormalities in tail shape, and display hyperactive swimming behaviors. Increased apoptosis was observed throughout the central nervous system of high-dose morphant fish, accounting for the size reduction of neural tissues. These observations demonstrate that zebrafish can be exploited to dissect the embryonic function(s) of genes known to predispose to seizure-like behavior in humans, and offer potential insight into the relationship between developmental neurobiological abnormalities and seizure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology