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Epilepsy Res. 1991 Jan-Feb;8(1):30-5.

An analysis of various environmental and specific sensory stimuli on the seizure activity of the Mongolian gerbil.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California, Irvine 92717.


Mongolian gerbils were subjected to different environmental and specific sensory stimuli to determine the ability of these stimuli to provoke seizures. None of the specific sensory stimuli, somatosensory, olfactory, auditory or visual, were effective in inducing convulsions. This finding does not implicate dysfunctions of the specific sensory pathways in seizure genesis in gerbils. In contrast, several novel environmental stimuli that exposed the animals to a difficult exploratory task (i.e., Y-maze, disk rack, etc.) could trigger seizures, and this suggests that the pathophysiology of epileptiform events in gerbils may have a unique association with exploratory behavior. However, the frequency, latency and severity of the seizures showed no correlation with each other, indicating that these parameters are probably determined by independent factors. Taken together with previous studies on the electrophysiology of the dentate gyrus during exposure to novel experiences, and the anatomical abnormalities found in the hippocampus of the seizure-sensitive gerbil, these behavioral data provide further support for a significant role of the hippocampus in the pathophysiology of seizures in this model of genetic epilepsy.

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