Diazepam administration after prolonged status epilepticus reduces neurodegeneration in the amygdala but not in the hippocampus during epileptogenesis
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An episode of status epilepticus (SE), if left untreated, can lead to death, or brain damage with long-term neurological consequences, including the development of epilepsy. The most common first-line treatment of SE is administration of benzodiazepines (BZs). However, the efficacy of BZs in terminating seizures is reduced with time after the onset of SE; this is accompanied by a reduced efficacy in protecting the hippocampus against neuronal damage, and is associated with impaired function and internalization of hippocampal GABAA receptors. In the present study, using Fluoro-Jade C staining, we found that administration of diazepam to rats at 3 h after the onset of kainic acid-induced SE, at a dose sufficient to terminate SE, had no protective effect on the hippocampus, but produced a significant reduction in neuronal degeneration in the amygdala, piriform cortex, and endopiriform nucleus, examined on days 7–9 after SE. Thus, in contrast to the hippocampus, the amygdala and other limbic structures are responsive to neuroprotection by BZs after prolonged SE, suggesting that GABAA receptors are not significantly altered in these structures during SE.