Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Early growth response-1 (Egr-1), defined as a zinc finger transcription factor, is an upstream master switch of the inflammatory response, and its expression can be used to investigate the spatial and temporal extent of inflammatory changes in the brain. Cortical spreading depression (CSD) is characterized as a slowly propagating (2-5 mm/min) depolarization wave through neurons and astrocytes in humans that contributes to migraines and possibly to other brain pathologies. In rodents, CSD can be induced experimentally, which involves unilateral depolarization that is associated with microglial and astrocyte responses. The impact of CSD on structures beyond the affected hemisphere has not been explored. Here, we used an optical fractionator method to investigate potential correlations between the number of and period of the eletrophysiologic record of CSD phenomena and Egr-1 expression in ipsilateral and contralateral hemispheres. CSD was elicited by the restricted application of a 2% KCl solution over the left premotor cortex. Electrophysiological events were recorded using a pair of Ag/AgCl agar-Ringer electrodes for 2 or 6 h. An optical fractionator was applied to count the Egr-1 positive cells. We found that CSD increased Egr-1 expression in a time- and event-dependent manner in the ipsilateral/left hemisphere. Although CSD did not cross the midline, multiple CSD inductions were associated with an increased number of Egr-1 positive cells in the contralateral/right hemisphere. Thus, repeated CSD waves may have far reaching effects that are more global than previously considered possible. The mechanism of contralateral expression is unknown, but we speculate that callosal projections from the depolarized hemisphere may be related to this phenomenon.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Neurosci

Publication Date





Egr-1, contralateral hemisphere, cortical spreading depression, optical fractionator, somatosensorial cortex