Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to understand how the positron emission tomography (PET) measure of the synaptic vesicle 2A (SV2A) protein varies in vivo during the development of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) in the kainic acid rat model.
Procedures: Twenty Sprague Dawley male rats were administered with multiple systemic doses of saline (control group, n = 5) or kainic acid (5 mg/kg/injection, epileptic group, n = 15). Both groups were scanned at the four phases of TLE (early, latent, transition, and chronic phase) with the [18F]UCB-H PET radiotracer and T2-structural magnetic resonance imaging. At the end of the scans (3 months post-status epilepticus), rats were monitored for 7 days with electroencephalography for the detection of spontaneous electrographic seizures. Finally, the immunofluorescence staining for SV2A expression was performed.
Results: Control rats presented a significant increase in [18F]UCB-H binding at the last two scans, compared with the first ones (p < 0.001). This increase existed but was lower in epileptic animals, producing significant group differences in all the phases of the disease (p < 0.028). Furthermore, the quantification of the SV2A expression in vivo with the [18F]UCB-H radiotracer or ex vivo with immunofluorescence led to equivalent results, with a positive correlation between both.
Conclusions: Even if further studies in humans are required, the ability to detect a progressive decrease in SV2A expression during the development of temporal lobe epilepsy supports the use of [18F]UCB-H as a useful tool to differentiate, in vivo, between healthy and epileptic animals along with the development of the epileptic disease.