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Brain Res. 1984 Nov 12;321(2):237-53.

Seizures produced by pilocarpine in mice: a behavioral, electroencephalographic and morphological analysis.


Increasing doses of pilocarpine, 100-400 mg/kg, were given intraperitoneally to mice and the resulting behavioral, electroencephalographic and neuropathological alterations were studied. No behavioral phenomena were observed in mice treated with the lowest dose of pilocarpine. Occasional tremor and myoclonus of hindlimbs were found in animals which received pilocarpine in a dose of 200 mg/kg. At doses of 300, 325 and 350 mg/kg, pilocarpine produced a sequence of behavioral alterations including staring spells, limbic gustatory automatisms and motor limbic seizures that developed over 15-30 min and built up progressively into a limbic status epilepticus lasting for several hours. The highest dose of pilocarpine, 400 mg/kg, was generally lethal to mice. Pilocarpine produced both interictal and ictal epileptiform activity in the electroencephalogram (EEG). The earliest EEG alterations appeared in the hippocampus and then spread to cortical areas. EEG seizures started 10-15 min after injection of large doses of pilocarpine, 300-350 mg/kg. Ictal periods lasted for 1-2 min, recurred every 5-10 min and were followed by periods of depression of the EEG activity. By 30-45 min paroxysmal activity resulted in a status epilepticus. Examination of frontal forebrain sections with light microscopy revealed a widespread damage to several brain regions including the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, olfactory cortex, neocortex and substantia nigra. Scopolamine, 10 mg/kg, and diazepam, 10 mg/kg, prevented the development of convulsive activity and brain damage produced by pilocarpine. The results emphasize that excessive and sustained stimulation of cholinergic receptors can lead to seizures and seizure-related brain damage in mice. It is proposed that systemic pilocarpine in mice provides a useful animal model for studying mechanisms of and therapeutic approaches to temporal lobe epilepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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