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Epilepsy Res. 2002 Sep;51(1-2):93-107.

Pilocarpine-induced epileptogenesis in the rat: impact of initial duration of status epilepticus on electrophysiological and neuropathological alterations.

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Preclinical CNS Research, UCB SA Pharma Sector, Chemin du Foriest, B-1420 Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium.


This study characterized the electrophysiological and neuropathological changes in rat brains caused by pilocarpine (PILO)-induced status epilepticus (SE) of different duration. SE induced by PILO (375 mg/kg, i.p. adm.) were terminated with a bolus dose of diazepam (10 mg/kg, i.v. adm.) injected 7.5, 15, 30, 60 or 120 min after initiation of the secondary generalization of the SE. Three weeks later, the gain in body weight was significantly reduced in the rats exposed to PILO-induced SE lasting 30 min or more, when compared to controls. Spontaneous seizures were not detected in rats with PILO-induced SE of 7.5 min duration whereas 50 and 25% of the rats exposed to seizure durations of 30 and 120 min expressed motor seizures. Significant alterations reflecting hyperexcitability (increased number of population spikes (PSs)) and reduced paired-pulse inhibition were observed in recordings of hippocampal field potentials from rats with PILO-induced SE of at least 30 min duration. This was substantiated by brain lesions (necrosis in olfactory cortex, hippocampus, amygdala and thalamus) in all rats manifesting a SE of at least 30 min duration. Thus, the results of the present study demonstrate that rats exposed to PILO-induced SE of at least 30 min duration manifest an epileptogenic process, revealed 3 weeks later by several parameters. Among these, hippocampal field potentials appear to represent the most sensitive marker, potentially useful for pharmacological evaluation of drugs with putative antiepileptogenic properties.

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