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Brain Res. 2002 Dec 6;957(1):152-61.

Secondary generalization of hippocampal kindled seizures in rats: examining the role of the piriform cortex.

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Department of Psychology, Life Sciences Research Center, Carleton University, Ontario Ottawa K1S 5B6, Canada.


A primary feature of epilepsy is the potential for focal seizures to recruit distant structures and generalize into convulsions. Key to understanding generalization is to identify critical structures facilitating the transition from focal to generalized seizures. In kindling, development of a primary site leads progressively to secondarily generalized convulsions. In addition, subsequent kindling of a secondary site results in rapid kindling from that site, presumably because of its facilitated access to the primary kindled network. Here, we investigated the role of the piriform cortex in convulsive generalization from a secondary site kindled in the hippocampus after primary site amygdala kindling. In a necessarily complicated design, rats initially experienced forebrain commissurotomy to lateralize the experiment to one hemisphere. Then the amygdala was kindled and, 3 weeks later, it was electrically-triggered into status epilepticus, which destroyed the ipsilateral piriform cortex. This experience occurred several days before secondary site kindling of the dorsal hippocampus. In rats with complete piriform cortex loss, there was no disruption in kindling or convulsive seizure expression from the hippocampus. However, when damage also involved parts of the perirhinal, insular and entorhinal cortices, convulsive expression was blocked. Although other evidence suggests that piriform lesions affect generalization of primary site kindling, the present study shows that they do not alter secondary site kindling in the dorsal hippocampus. The additional involvement of parahippocampal cortical areas in convulsive expression suggests an important functional association between these cortical regions and the hippocampus in seizure propagation and clinical expression.

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