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Brain Res. 1995 Apr 17;677(1):97-109.

Tetanus toxin-induced seizures in infant rats and their effects on hippocampal excitability in adulthood.

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Cain Foundation Laboratories, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


A new experimental model of developmental epilepsy is reported. Behavioral and EEG features of seizures produced by unilateral intrahippocampal injection of tetanus toxin in postnatal day 9-11 rats, are described. Within 24-72 h of tetanus toxin injection, rat pups developed frequent and often prolonged seizures which included combinations of repetitive wet dog shakes, and wild running-jumping seizures. Intrahippocampal and cortical surface EEG recordings showed that coincident with these behaviors, electrographic seizures occurred not only in the injected hippocampus, but also in the contralateral hippocampus and bilaterally in the neocortex. Analysis of the interictal EEG revealed multiple independent spike foci. One week following tetanus toxin injection, the number of seizures markedly decreased; however, interictal spiking persisted. After injection rats were allowed to mature some were observed to have unprovoked behavioral seizures and/or epileptiform EEG activity. Mature animals were also studied using in vitro slice techniques. Recordings from hippocampal slices demonstrated spontaneous epileptiform burst discharges in the majority of rats which had tetanus toxin induced seizures as infants. These events occurred in area CA3 and consisted of interictal spikes and intracellularly recorded paroxysmal depolarization shifts (PDSs). On rarer occasions, electrographic seizures were recorded. The use of the tetanus toxin model in developing rats may facilitate a better understanding of the unique features of epileptogenesis in the developing brain and the consequences early-life seizures have on brain maturation and the genesis of epileptic conditions in later life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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