PRECS student projects

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2019


Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most prominent form of partial epilepsy in adults. Reproductive endocrine comorbidities appear in patients with TLE at significantly higher rates than in the general population. These comorbidities include polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothalamic amenorrhea, hyperandrogenism, irregular menstrual cycle, lower testosterone levels, hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, and decreased semen motility. It is believed that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the hypothalamus play an important role in the development of these comorbidities. The kainic acid (KA) mouse model is used to study epilepsy-associated changes in GnRH neurophysiology. Our lab recently observed that the activity of GnRH neurons is altered in KA-injected mice (Li et al., eNeuro 2018). To ensure validity of the data, we must verify the success of all KA injections as indicated by the presence of sclerosis and/or gliosis in the hippocampus. Nissl (Cresyl violet) staining is used to visually verify the presence of sclerosis. This research seeks to determine if all KA injections effectively trigger seizures and later development of hippocampal damage and to identify effectiveness of the different methods of verification.


This research was conducted with the cooperation of the Christian Lab,, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Financial support was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant #NSF REU 1559908/1559929, as part of the Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students, through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute for Genomic Biology and Parkland College. Financial support for this project in the Christian Lab was provided by NIH grant R01 NS105825.



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