Changes in Extracellular Action Potential Detect Kainic Acid and Trimethyltin Toxicity in Hippocampal Slice Preparations Earlier than do MAP2 Density Measurements
Raffaella Melani, Renata Rebaudo, Jens Noraberg, Jens Zimme
r and Maurizio Balestrino
In vitro electrophysiological techniques for the assessment of neurotoxicity could have several advantages over other methods in current use, including the ability to detect damage at a very early stage, and could further assist in replacing animal experimentation in vivo. We investigated how an electrophysiological parameter, the extracellularly-recorded compound action potential (“population spike”, PS) could be used as a marker of in vitro neurotoxicity in the case of two well-known toxic compounds, kainic acid (KA) and trimethyltin (TMT). We compared the use of this electrophysiological endpoint with changes in immunoreactivity for microtubule-associated protein 2 (MAP2), a standard histological test for neurotoxicity. We found that both toxic compounds reliably caused disappearance of the PS, and that such disappearance occurred after only 1 hour of exposure to the drug. By contrast, densitometric measurements of MAP2 immunoreactivity were unaffected by both KA and TMT after such a short exposure time. We conclude that, in the case of KA and TMT, the extracellular PS was abolished at a very early time-point, when MAP2 immunoreactivity levels were still comparable to those of the untreated controls. Electrophysiology could be a reliable and early indicator of neurotoxicity, which could improve our ability to test for neurotoxicity in vitro, thus further replacing the need for in vivo experimentation.
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