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J Neurosci. 1996 Jun 15;16(12):3912-24.

Synchronous GABA-mediated potentials and epileptiform discharges in the rat limbic system in vitro.

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  • 1Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


Application of 4-aminopyridine (4AP, 50 microM) to combined slices of adult rat hippocampus-entorhinal cortex-induced ictal and interictal epileptiform discharges, as well as slow field potentials that were abolished by the mu-opioid agonist [D-Ala2,N-Me-Phe4,Gly-ol5] enkephalin (DAGO, 10 microM) or the GABAA receptor antagonist bicuculline methiodide (BMI, 10 microM); hence, they represented synchronous GABA-mediated potentials. Ictal discharges originated in the entorhinal cortex and propagated to the hippocampus, whereas interictal activity of CA3 origin was usually recorded in the hippocampus. The GABA-mediated potentials had no fixed site of origin or modality of propagation; they closely preceded (0.2-5 sec) and thus appeared to initiate ictal discharges. Only ictal discharges were blocked by the antagonist of the NMDA receptor 3,3-(2-carboxypiperazine-4-yl)propyl-1-phosphonate (CPP, 10 microM), whereas the non-NMDA receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX, 10 microM) abolished all epileptiform activities. The GABA-mediated potentials continued to occur synchronously in all regions even after concomitant application of CNQX and CPP. [K+]o elevations were recorded in the entorhinal cortex during the ictal discharge (peak values = 13.9 +/- 0.9 mM) and the synchronous GABA-mediated potentials (peak values = 4.2 +/- 0.1 mM); the latter increases were presumably attributable to postsynaptic GABAa-receptor activation because they were abolished by DAGO or BMI. Their role in initiating ictal activity was demonstrated by using DAGO, which abolished both GABA-mediated synchronous potentials and ictal discharges. These data indicate that NMDA-mediated ictal discharges induced by 4AP originate in the entorhinal cortex; such a conclusion is in line with clinical evidence obtained in temporal lobe epilepsy patients. 4AP also induces GABA-mediated potentials that spread within the limbic system when excitatory transmission is blocked and may play a role in initiating ictal discharge by increasing [K+]o.

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