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Am J Med Genet. 1995 Feb 27;60(1):55-63.

Genetic threshold hypothesis of neocortical spike-and-wave discharges in the rat: an animal model of petit mal epilepsy.

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Laboratory of Neurobehavioral Genetics, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.


Neocortical high-voltage spike-and-wave discharges (HVS) in the rat are an animal model of petit mal epilepsy. Genetic analysis of total duration of HVS (s/12 hr) in reciprocal F1 and F2 hybrids of F344 and BN rats indicated that the phenotypic variability of HVS cannot be explained by a simple, monogenic Mendelian model. Biometrical analysis suggested the presence of additive, dominance, and sex-linked-epistatic effects, buffering maternal influence, and heterosis. High correlation was observed between average duration (s/episode) and frequency of occurrence of spike-and-wave episodes (n/12 hr) in parental and segregating generations, indicating that common genes affect both duration and frequency of the spike-and-wave pattern. We propose that both genetic and developmental-environmental factors control an underlying quantitative variable, which, above a certain threshold level, precipitates HVS discharges. These findings, together with the recent availability of rat DNA markers for total genome mapping, pave the way to the identification of genes that control the susceptibility of the brain to spike-and-wave discharges.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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