Cortical spreading depression (CSD), a wave of depolarization followed by depression of cortical activity, is a pathophysiological process implicated in migraine with aura and various other brain pathologies, such as ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury. To gain insight into the pathophysiology of CSD, we generated a mouse model for a severe monogenic subtype of migraine with aura, familial hemiplegic migraine type 3 (FHM3). FHM3 is caused by mutations in SCN1A, encoding the voltage-gated Na+ channel NaV1.1 predominantly expressed in inhibitory interneurons. Homozygous Scn1aL1649Q knock-in mice died prematurely, whereas heterozygous mice had a normal lifespan. Heterozygous Scn1aL1649Q knock-in mice compared to wildtype mice displayed a significantly enhanced susceptibility to CSD. We found L1649Q to cause a gain-of-function effect with an impaired Na+-channel inactivation and increased ramp Na+-currents leading to hyperactivity of fast-spiking inhibitory interneurons. Brain slice recordings using K+-sensitive electrodes revealed an increase in extracellular K+ in the early phase of CSD in heterozygous mice, likely representing the mechanistic link between interneuron hyperactivity and CSD initiation. The neuronal phenotype and premature death of homozygous Scn1aL1649Q knock-in mice was partially rescued by GS967, a blocker of persistent Na+-currents. Collectively, our findings identify interneuron hyperactivity as a mechanism to trigger CSD.
FörderungenGerman Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF project TREAT-Ion) Faculty of Medicine, University of Tubingen intramural fortune grant Vascular Dementia Research Foundation Italian Telethon Foundation Faculty of Medicine, University of Tubingen International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) DFG German Research Foundation (DFG)