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Nat Med. 2006 Jul;12(7):817-23. Epub 2006 Jul 2.

Experimental febrile seizures are precipitated by a hyperthermia-induced respiratory alkalosis.

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  • 1Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Viikinkaari 1 (POB 65), 00014 Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

Febrile seizures are frequent during early childhood, and prolonged (complex) febrile seizures are associated with an increased susceptibility to temporal lobe epilepsy. The pathophysiological consequences of febrile seizures have been extensively studied in rat pups exposed to hyperthermia. The mechanisms that trigger these seizures are unknown, however. A rise in brain pH is known to enhance neuronal excitability. Here we show that hyperthermia causes respiratory alkalosis in the immature brain, with a threshold of 0.2-0.3 pH units for seizure induction. Suppressing alkalosis with 5% ambient CO2 abolished seizures within 20 s. CO2 also prevented two long-term effects of hyperthermic seizures in the hippocampus: the upregulation of the I(h) current and the upregulation of CB1 receptor expression. The effects of hyperthermia were closely mimicked by intraperitoneal injection of bicarbonate. Our work indicates a mechanism for triggering hyperthermic seizures and suggests new strategies in the research and therapy of fever-related epileptic syndromes.

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PMID:
16819552
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1698875
Free PMC Article
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