Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Anticonvulsant activity of bone marrow cells in electroconvulsive seizures in mice

Enéas Galdini Ferrazoli1, Miriam Marcela Blanco1, Simone Bittencourt1, André Luis Lacerda Bachi2, Luciana Bahia3, Milena Botelho Pereira Soares34, Ricardo Ribeiro-dos-Santos34, Luiz Eugênio Mello1 and Beatriz Monteiro Longo1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Neurofisiologia, Departamento de Fisiologia, Federal University of São Paulo - UNIFESP, R. Botucatu, 862 5 andar, V. Clementino – CEP, 04023-066, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Disciplina de Imunologia, Departamento de Micro-Imuno-Parasitologia, UNIFESP, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Salvador, BA, Brazil

4 Centro de Biotecnologia e Terapia Celular, Hospital São Rafael, Salvador, BA, Brazil

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BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:97  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-97

Published: 6 September 2013



Bone marrow is an accessible source of progenitor cells, which have been investigated as treatment for neurological diseases in a number of clinical trials. Here we evaluated the potential benefit of bone marrow cells in protecting against convulsive seizures induced by maximum electroconvulsive shock (MES), a widely used model for screening of anti-epileptic drugs. Behavioral and inflammatory responses were measured after MES induction in order to verify the effects promoted by transplantation of bone marrow cells. To assess the anticonvulsant effects of bone marrow cell transplantation, we measured the frequency and duration of tonic seizure, the mortality rate, the microglial expression and the blood levels of cytokine IL-1, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α after MES induction. We hypothesized that these behavioral and inflammatory responses to a strong stimulus such as a convulsive seizure could be modified by the transplantation of bone marrow cells.


Bone marrow transplanted cells altered the convulsive threshold and showed anticonvulsant effect by protecting from tonic seizures. Bone marrow cells modified the microglial expression in the analyzed brain areas, increased the IL-10 and attenuate IL-6 levels.


Bone marrow cells exert protective effects by blocking the course of electroconvulsive seizures. Additionally, electroconvulsive seizures induced acute inflammatory responses by altering the pattern of microglia expression, as well as in IL-6 and IL-10 levels. Our findings also indicated that the anticonvulsant effects of these cells can be tested with the MES model following the same paradigm used for drug testing in pharmacological screening. Studies on the inflammatory reaction in response to acute seizures in the presence of transplanted bone marrow cells might open a wide range of discussions on the mechanisms relevant to the pathophysiology of epilepsies.

Bone marrow; Cell transplantation; Electroconvulsive shock; Tonic seizure; Microglia; Hippocampus