Nestin is an intermediate filament found in neurogenic progenitors and non-neuronal cells. Nestin-immunoreactivity (IR) in the brain often increases after brain damage. Here we show that amygdala kindling, which mimics the epileptic seizures, also induces nestin expression in the brain. Nestin-IR was greatly enhanced in the leptomeninges (pia and arachnoid maters) and neocortical parenchyma, but not much in the SVZ around the lateral ventricle, SGZ in the dentate gyrus, or the endothelial progenitor cells of blood vessels, fimbria, or choroid plexus after kindling. Electron microscopy revealed that nestin-IR in the leptomeninges was localized to granule cells, where it co-localized with GAD67-IR after electrical stimulation. The nestin-positive granule cells in the leptomeninges, especially around the emissary vein, were proliferative. However, nestin-IR in the neocortical parenchyma was expressed in NG2 glia and did not co-localize with GAD67-IR. Deletion of nestin-positive cells resulted in a high susceptibility to electrical stimulation. Consequently, almost all of the mice died or dropped out during kindling progression in 20 days, from naturally generated epileptic seizure or exhaustion. We speculate that the nestin-positive cells activated by amygdala kindling may involve in the protection of the brain from epilepsy.
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