Medullary tyrosine hydroxylase catecholaminergic neuronal populations in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
AuthorPatodia, S; Tan, I; Ellis, M; Somani, A; Scheffer, IE; Sisodiya, SM; Thom, M
Source TitleBrain Pathology
University of Melbourne Author/sScheffer, Ingrid
AffiliationMedicine (Austin & Northern Health)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsPatodia, S., Tan, I., Ellis, M., Somani, A., Scheffer, I. E., Sisodiya, S. M. & Thom, M. (2020). Medullary tyrosine hydroxylase catecholaminergic neuronal populations in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. BRAIN PATHOLOGY, 31 (1), pp.133-143. https://doi.org/10.1111/bpa.12891.
Access StatusOpen Access
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is mechanistically complex and one probable cause is seizure-related respiratory dysfunction. Medullary respiratory regulatory nuclei include the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC) in the ventrolateral medulla (VLM), the medullary raphé nuclei (MR) and nucleus of solitary tract in the dorsomedial medulla (DMM). The region of the VLM also contains intermingled tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) catecholaminergic neurones which directly project to the pre-BötC and regulate breathing under hypoxic conditions and our aim was to evaluate these neurones in SUDEP cases. In post-mortem cases from three groups [SUDEP (18), epilepsy controls (8) and non-epilepsy controls (16)] serial sections of medulla (obex + 2 to + 13 mm) were immunolabeled for TH. Three regions of interest (ROI) were outlined (VLM, DMM and MR) and TH-immunoreactive (TH-IR) neurones were evaluated using automated detection for overall labeling index (neurones and processes) and neuronal densities and compared between groups and relative to obex level. C-fos immunoreactivity was also semi-quantitatively evaluated in these regions. We found no significant difference in the density of TH-IR neurones or labeling index between the groups in all regions. Significantly more TH-IR neurones were present in the DMM region than VLM in non-epilepsy cases only (P < 0.01). Regional variations in TH-IR neurones with obex level were seen in all groups except SUDEP. We also identified occasional TH neurones in the MR region in all groups. There was significantly less c-fos labeling in the VLM and MR in SUDEP than non-epilepsy controls but no difference with epilepsy controls. In conclusion, in this series we found no evidence for alteration of total medullary TH-IR neuronal numbers in SUDEP but noted some differences in their relative distribution in the medulla and c-fos neurones compared to control groups which may be relevant to the mechanism of death.
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