Benzodiazepine-refractory status epilepticus, neuroinflammation, and interneuron neurodegeneration after acute organophosphate intoxication.
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Nerve agents and some pesticides such as diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) cause neurotoxic manifestations that include seizures and status epilepticus (SE), which are potentially lethal and carry long-term neurological morbidity. Current antidotes for organophosphate (OP) intoxication include atropine, 2-PAM and diazepam (a benzodiazepine for treating seizures and SE). There is some evidence for partial or complete loss of diazepam anticonvulsant efficacy when given 30min or later after exposure to an OP; this condition is known as refractory SE. Effective therapies for OP-induced SE are lacking and it is unclear why current therapies do not work. In this study, we investigated the time-dependent efficacy of diazepam in the nerve agent surrogate DFP model of OP intoxication on seizure suppression and neuroprotection in rats, following an early and late therapy. Diazepam (5mg/kg, IM) controlled seizures when given 10min after DFP exposure ("early"), but it was completely ineffective at 60 or 120min ("late") after DFP. DFP-induced neuronal injury, neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration of principal cells and GABAergic interneurons were significantly reduced by early but not late therapy. These findings demonstrate that diazepam failed to control seizures, SE and neuronal injury when given 60min or later after DFP exposure, confirming the benzodiazepine-refractory SE and brain damage after OP intoxication. In addition, this study indicates that degeneration of inhibitory interneurons and inflammatory glial activation are potential mechanisms underlying these morbid outcomes of OP intoxication. Therefore, novel anticonvulsant and neuroprotectant antidotes, superior to benzodiazepines, are desperately needed for controlling nerve agent-induced SE and brain injury.