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Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1984 Sep;6(9):531-47.

Genetic animal models of epilepsy as a unique resource for the evaluation of anticonvulsant drugs. A review.


Genetic animal models of epilepsy comprise genetically predisposed animal species in which seizures either occur spontaneously or in response to sensory stimulation. The major advantage of these naturally occurring epilepsies in animals as models of human epilepsy is that they simulate the clinical situation more closely than any other experimental epilepsy. Models with idiopathic spontaneous recurrent seizures are epileptic dogs, tottering mice, and rats with spike-wave absence (petit mal) seizures. In dogs, the most common seizure type are generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures. Recent epidemiological and antiepileptic drug efficacy studies strongly suggest that epileptic dogs offer a valuable model for human grand mal epilepsy. In tottering mice, two types of spontaneous recurrent seizures occur: spike-wave absence seizures and focal motor seizures. Both types differ in sensitivity to common antiepileptic drugs, which closely resembles the absence and focal types of epilepsy in humans. Spontaneously recurrent spike-wave absence seizures in rats can be selectively blocked by drugs effective in petit mal (absence) epilepsy in man, demonstrating the validity of this new petit mal model for anticonvulsant drug screening. Models with reflex seizures comprise photosensitive baboons (Papio papio) and fowl, audiogenic seizure susceptible mice and rats, and gerbils with seizures in response to different sensory stimuli. With respect to seizure types and drug efficacies in these species, rats and chickens may represent suitable models for grand mal epilepsy, whereas baboons offer a useful model of photomyoclonic seizures. Gerbils can be subdivided into animals with minor (myoclonic) and major (mostly generalized tonic-clonic) seizures, which respond differently to antiepileptic drugs and seem to provide interesting models for petit mal and grand mal epilepsy in man. In conclusion, the data summarized in this review emphasize that genetic animal models of epilepsy offer unique approaches to the evaluation of antiepileptic drugs used or usable in man.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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