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CaV2.1 channel mutations causing familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 increase the susceptibility for cortical spreading depolarizations and seizures and worsen outcome after experimental traumatic brain injury.

Elife. 2022 Mar 3;11:e74923. doi: 10.7554/eLife.74923. PMID: 35238776; PMCID: PMC8920504.

Authors/Editors: Terpollili NA, Dolp R, Waehner K, Schwarzmaier SM, Rumbler E, Todorov B, Ferrari MD, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Plesnila N.
Publication Date: 2022


Patients suffering from familial hemiplegic migraine type 1 (FHM1) may have a disproportionally severe outcome after head trauma, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Hence, we subjected knock-in mice carrying the severer S218L or milder R192Q FHM1 gain-of-function missense mutation in the CACNA1A gene that encodes the α1A subunit of neuronal voltage-gated CaV2.1 (P/Q-type) calcium channels and their wild-type (WT) littermates to experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI) by controlled cortical impact and investigated cortical spreading depolarizations (CSDs), lesion volume, brain edema formation, and functional outcome. After TBI, all mutant mice displayed considerably more CSDs and seizures than WT mice, while S218L mutant mice had a substantially higher mortality. Brain edema formation and the resulting increase in intracranial pressure were more pronounced in mutant mice, while only S218L mutant mice had larger lesion volumes and worse functional outcome. Here, we show that gain of CaV2.1 channel function worsens histopathological and functional outcome after TBI in mice. This phenotype was associated with a higher number of CSDs, increased seizure activity, and more pronounced brain edema formation. Hence, our results suggest increased susceptibility for CSDs and seizures as potential mechanisms for bad outcome after TBI in FHM1 mutation carriers.


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