This study was performed to determine the effect of prolonged status epilepticus on the activity and subcellular location of a neuronally enriched, calcium-regulated enzyme, calcineurin. Brain fractions isolated from control animals and rats subjected to pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus were subjected to differential centrifugation. Specific subcellular fractions were tested for both calcineurin activity and enzyme content. Significant, status epilepticus-induced increases in calcineurin activity were found in homogenates, nuclear fractions, and crude synaptic membrane-enriched fractions isolated from both cortex and hippocampus. Additionally, significant increases in enzyme levels were observed in crude synaptic fractions as measured by Western analysis. Immunohistochemical studies revealed a status epilepticus-induced increase in calcineurin immunoreactivity in dendritic structures of pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus. The data demonstrate a status epilepticus-induced increase in calcineurin activity and concentration in the postsynaptic region of forebrain pyramidal neurons.
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