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Epilepsy Res. 2011 Nov;97(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2011.09.005. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

The relevance of individual genetic background and its role in animal models of epilepsy.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Neurobiology, USC Keck School of Medicine, 1333 San Pablo Street, BMT 403, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9112, United States.


Growing evidence has indicated that genetic factors contribute to the etiology of seizure disorders. Most epilepsies are multifactorial, involving a combination of additive and epistatic genetic variables. However, the genetic factors underlying epilepsy have remained unclear, partially due to epilepsy being a clinically and genetically heterogeneous syndrome. Similar to the human situation, genetic background also plays an important role in modulating both seizure susceptibility and its neuropathological consequences in animal models of epilepsy, which has too often been ignored or not been paid enough attention to in published studies. Genetic homogeneity within inbred strains and their general amenability to genetic manipulation have made them an ideal resource for dissecting the physiological function(s) of individual genes. However, the inbreeding that makes inbred mice so useful also results in genetic divergence between them. This genetic divergence is often unaccounted for but may be a confounding factor when comparing studies that have utilized distinct inbred strains. The purpose of this review is to discuss the effects of genetic background strain on epilepsy phenotypes of mice, to remind researchers that the background genetics of a knockout strain can have a profound influence on any observed phenotype, and outline the means by which to overcome potential genetic background effects in experimental models of epilepsy.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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