DOI: 10.1007/s13311-017-0550-y Pages: 1-14
Article Type: Original Article

Fingolimod Exerts only Temporary Antiepileptogenic Effects but Longer-Lasting Positive Effects on Behavior in the WAG/Rij Rat Absence Epilepsy Model

1. University “Magna Graecia” of Catanzaro, Science of Health Department, School of Medicine

2. Magna Graecia University and Translational Medical Oncology Unit, Salvatore Venuta University Campus, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine

3. UCL School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology

Correspondence to:
Emilio Russo



One of the major challenges in the epilepsy field is identifying disease-modifying drugs in order to prevent or delay spontaneous recurrent seizure onset or to cure already established epilepsy. It has been recently reported that fingolimod, currently approved for the treatment of relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis, has demonstrated antiepileptogenic effects in 2 different preclinical models of acquired epilepsy. However, to date, no data exist regarding the role of fingolimod against genetic epilepsy. Therefore, we have addressed this issue by studying the effects of fingolimod in Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats, a well-established genetic model of absence epilepsy, epileptogenesis, and neuropsychiatric comorbidity. Our results have demonstrated that an early long-term treatment with fingolimod (1 mg/kg/day), started before absence seizure onset, has both antiepileptogenic and antidepressant-like effects in WAG/Rij rats. However, these effects were transitory, as 5 months after treatment discontinuation, both absence seizure and depressive like-behavior returned to control levels. Furthermore, a temporary reduction of mTOR signaling pathway activity, indicated by reduced phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin and phosphorylated p70S6k levels, and by increased phosphorylated Akt in WAG/Rij rats of 6 months of age accompanied the transitory antiepileptogenic effects of fingolimod. Surprisingly, fingolimod has demonstrated longer-lasting positive effects on cognitive decline in this strain. This effect was accompanied by an increased acetylation of lysine 8 of histone H4 (at both 6 and 10 months of age). In conclusion, our results support the antiepileptogenic effects of fingolimod. However, the antiepileptogenic effects were transitory. Moreover, fingolimod might also have a positive impact on animal behavior and particularly in protecting the development of memory decline.

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  • Online: Jun 26, 2017

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