Cardiorespiratory collapse following a seizure is a suspected cause of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), the leading cause of epilepsy-related mortality. In the commonly used Kcna1 gene knockout (Kcna1-/-) mouse model of SUDEP, cardiorespiratory profiling reveals an array of aberrant breathing patterns that could contribute to risk of seizure-related mortality. However, the brain structures mediating these respiratory abnormalities remain unknown. We hypothesize that Kv1.1 deficiency in respiratory control centers of the brain contribute to respiratory dysfunction in Kcna1-/- mice leading to increased SUDEP risk. Thus, in this study, we first used immunohistochemistry to map expression of Kv1.1 protein in cardiorespiratory brain regions of wild-type Kcna1+/+ (WT) mice. Next, GFAP and Iba1 immunostaining was used to test for the presence of astrogliosis and microgliosis, respectively, in the cardiorespiratory centers of Kcna1-/- mice, which could be indicative of seizure-related brain injury that could impair breathing. In WT type mice, we detected Kv1.1 protein in all cardiorespiratory centers examined, including the basolateral amygdala, dorsal respiratory group, dorsal motor nucleus of vagus, nucleus ambiguus, ventral respiratory column, and pontine respiratory group, as well as chemosensory centers including the retrotrapezoid and median raphae nuclei. Extensive gliosis was observed in the same areas in Kcna1-/- mice suggesting that seizure-associated brain injury could contribute to respiratory abnormalities.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience