Mol Neurobiol. 2023 Oct 24. doi: 10.1007/s12035-023-03692-2. Online ahead of print.
Structural epilepsies display complex immune activation signatures. However, it is unclear which neuroinflammatory pathways drive pathobiology. Transcriptome studies of brain resections from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) patients revealed a dysregulation of transforming growth factor β, interferon α/β, and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 pathways. Since these pathways are regulated by ubiquitin-specific proteases (USP), in particular USP15, we hypothesized that USP15 blockade may provide therapeutic relief in treatment-resistant epilepsies. For validation, transgenic mice which either constitutively or inducibly lack Usp15 gene expression underwent intrahippocampal kainate injections to induce mTLE. We show that the severity of status epilepticus is unaltered in mice constitutively lacking Usp15 compared to wild types. Cell death, reactive gliosis, and changes in the inflammatory transcriptome were pronounced at 4 days after kainate injection. However, these brain inflammation signatures did not differ between genotypes. Likewise, induced deletion of Usp15 in chronic epilepsy did not affect seizure generation, cell death, gliosis, or the transcriptome. Concordantly, siRNA-mediated knockdown of Usp15 in a microglial cell line did not impact inflammatory responses in the form of cytokine release. Our data show that a lack of USP15 is insufficient to modulate the expression of relevant neuroinflammatory pathways in an mTLE mouse model and do not support targeting USP15 as a therapeutic approach for pharmacoresistant epilepsy.