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Early inflammation following status epilepticus has been implicated in the development of epilepsy and the evolution of brain injury, yet its precise role remains unclear. The development of non-invasive imaging markers of inflammation would enable researchers to test this hypothesis in vivo and study its temporal progression in relation to epileptogenic insults. In this study we have investigated the potential of a targeted magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent--vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 antibody labelled iron oxide--to image the inflammatory process following status epilepticus in the rat lithium-pilocarpine model. Intravascular administration of the targeted contrast agent was performed at approximately 1 day following status epilepticus. The control group received diazepam prior to pilocarpine to prevent status epilepticus. Magnetic resonance imaging of rats was performed before and after contrast administration. Comparison with quantitative T₂ measurements was also performed. At the end of the study, brains were removed for ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging and histology. Marked focal hypointensities caused by contrast agent binding were observed on in vivo magnetic resonance images in the post status epilepticus group. In particular these occurred in the periventricular organs, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. Relatively little contrast agent binding was observed in the control group. T₂ relaxation times were not significantly increased for the hippocampus or the cerebral cortex in post status epilepticus animals. These results demonstrate the feasibility of in vivo imaging of seizure-induced inflammation in an animal model of epilepsy. The antibody targeted MRI contrast agent identified regions of acute inflammation following status epilepticus and may provide an early marker of brain injury. This technique could be used to determine the role of inflammation in models of epileptogenesis and to study the potential for anti-inflammatory therapeutic interventions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1149 - 1155


Animals, Brain, Contrast Media, Ferric Compounds, Inflammation, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Microspheres, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Status Epilepticus, Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1