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Epilepsy Curr. 2010 Jul;10(4):95-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1535-7511.2010.01369.x.

Is neuronal death necessary for acquired epileptogenesis in the immature brain?

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Department of Physiology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.


A central question concerning acquired epileptogenesis in the immature brain is whether neuronal death is required for the development of epilepsy after a brain insult. Results from three different animal models of brain injury during early development have been used to develop the hypothesis that status epilepticus, prolonged febrile seizures, or hypoxia-induced seizures can lead to chronic epilepsy without the occurrence of neuronal death. This brief review will summarize the evidence supporting the hypothesis in each model and then critique the data and published interpretations. A case will be made that the evidence to date neither rules out the occurrence of neuronal death nor demonstrates that epileptogenesis (i.e., spontaneous recurrent seizures) has actually occurred in these animal models of acquired pediatric epilepsy. We also review evidence for the opposing hypothesis: acquired epileptogenesis in the immature brain requires, or at least often involves, neuronal death.

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