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Epilepsy Res. 2006 Aug;70(2-3):200-10. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

Termination of epileptiform activity by cooling in rat hippocampal slice epilepsy models.

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  • 1Epilepsy Research Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, MD 20892-3702, USA.


Cooling has been shown to terminate experimentally induced epileptiform activity in models of epilepsy without causing injury to the cooled brain, suggesting that cooling could represent an approach to seizure control in intractable focal epilepsies. Here we sought to determine the most effective way to apply cooling to abort spontaneous epileptiform discharges in in vitro brain slice models. We induced spontaneous epileptiform activity in rat brain slices by exposure to 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), 4-AP plus bicuculline, and Mg(2+)-free artificial CSF (aCSF) at 28-34 degrees C. Extracellular field recordings were made at hippocampal or neocortical sites. Slice temperature was reduced by perfusion with cold aCSF. Rapid cooling at rates of 2-5 degrees C/s was compared to cooling at slower rates of 0.1-1 degrees C/s. Cooling at both rates reversibly aborted epileptiform discharges in all three models and at all recording sites. With rapid cooling, small temperature drops were highly effective in terminating discharges, an effect that was sustained for as long as the reduced temperature level was maintained. In contrast, slow cooling required much larger temperature drops to inhibit discharges. With slow cooling, absolute temperature drops to 21-22 degrees C caused a 90% reduction in event frequency, but cooling to 14-15 degrees C was required to terminate discharges. We conclude that rapid cooling as effectively aborts discharges in in vitro epilepsy models as does slow cooling, but the magnitude of the temperature change required is less. Practical devices to inhibit seizure activity may only need to induce small temperature drops, if the cooling can be applied sufficiently rapidly.

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