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Epilepsia Open. 2017 Feb 23;2(2):180-187. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12044. eCollection 2017 Jun.

The intrahippocampal kainate mouse model of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy: Lack of electrographic seizure-like events in sham controls.

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Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and PharmacyUniversity of Veterinary MedicineHanoverGermany.
Center for Systems Neuroscience Hanover Germany.



There is an ongoing debate about definition of seizures in experimental models of acquired epilepsy and how important adequate sham controls are in this respect. For instance, several mouse and rat strains exhibit high-voltage rhythmic spike or spike-wave discharges in the cortical electroencephalogram (EEG), which has to be considered when using such strains for induction of epilepsy by status epilepticus, traumatic brain injury, or other means. Mice developing spontaneous recurrent nonconvulsive and convulsive seizures after intrahippocampal injection of kainate are increasingly being used as a model of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. We performed a prospective study in which EEG alterations occurring in this model were compared with the EEGs in appropriate sham controls, using hippocampal electrodes and video-EEG monitoring.


Experiments with intrahippocampal kainate (or saline) injections started when mice were about 8 weeks of age. Continuous video-EEG recording via hippocampal electrodes was performed 6 weeks after surgery in kainate-injected mice and sham controls, that is, at an age of about 14 weeks. Three days of continuous video-EEG monitoring were compared between kainate-injected mice and experimental controls.


As reported previously, kainate-injected mice exhibited two types of highly frequent electrographic seizures: high-voltage sharp waves, which were often monomorphic, and polymorphic hippocampal paroxysmal discharges. In addition, generalized convulsive clinical seizures were infrequently observed. None of these electrographic or electroclinical seizures were observed in sham controls. The only infrequently observed EEG abnormalities in sham controls were isolated spikes or spike clusters, which were also recorded in epileptic mice.


This study rigorously demonstrates, by explicit comparison with the EEGs of sham controls, that the nonconvulsive paroxysmal events observed in this model are consequences of the induced epilepsy and not features of the EEG expected to be seen in some experimental control mice or unintentionally induced by surgical procedures.


EEG; High‐voltage rhythmic spikes; Hippocampus; Oscillations; Spike‐wave discharges

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