Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Neurobiology of disease


JGM, Animals, Rats, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Dexamethasone, Flurothyl, Gene Expression Regulation, Hippocampus, Quality of Life, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Seizures

JAX Source

Neurobiol Dis. 2022 Nov;174:105873.



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This work was supported by an NIH NIGMS award (5P20GM130454- 02) awarded to JMM.


Early-life seizures (ELS) are associated with persistent cognitive deficits such as ADHD and memory impairment. These co-morbidities have a dramatic negative impact on the quality of life of patients. Therapies that improve cognitive outcomes have enormous potential to improve patients' quality of life. Our previous work in a rat flurothyl-induction model showed that administration of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) at time of seizure induction led to improved learning and memory in the animals despite no effect on seizure latency or duration. Administration of dexamethasone (Dex), a corticosteroid, did not have the same positive effect on learning and memory and has even been shown to exacerbate injury in a rat model of temporal lobe epilepsy. We hypothesized that ACTH exerted positive effects on cognitive outcomes through beneficial changes to gene expression and proposed that administration of ACTH at seizure induction would return gene-expression in the brain towards the normal pattern of expression in the Control animals whereas Dex would not. Twenty-six Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into vehicle- Control, and ACTH-, Dex-, and vehicle- ELS. Rat pups were subjected to 60 flurothyl seizures from P5 to P14. After seizure induction, brains were removed and the hippocampus and PFC were dissected, RNA was extracted and sequenced, and differential expression analysis was performed using generalized estimating equations. Differential expression analysis showed that ACTH pushes gene expression in the brain back to a more normal state of expression through enrichment of pathways involved in supporting homeostatic balance and down-regulating pathways that might contribute to excitotoxic cell-damage post-ELS.


This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( nc-nd/4.0/).