Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 1995 Jan;64(2):301-17.

Spike-and-wave epilepsy in rats: sex differences and inheritance of physiological traits.

Author information

Center for Molecular and Behavioural Neuroscience, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Newark 07102, USA.


Spontaneously occurring spike-and-wave patterns were examined in seven to eight-month-old rats of the inbred Fischer 344 and Brown Norway strains and their F1 and F2 hybrids. Neocortical activity and movement were monitored for 12 night h. Spike-and-wave episodes were identified by a three-layer back-propagation neural network. The incidence, average duration and total duration of spike-and-wave episodes were significantly higher in F1 males and F2 hybrids than in the parental strains. Male rats of the Brown Norway strain had significantly more and longer episodes than females, whereas no sex differences were present in Fischer rats. The average intraepisodic frequency of spike-and-wave patterns was significantly lower in Fischer rats than in the other groups and significantly higher in males than females. Tremor (myoclonic movements) associated with spike-and-wave episodes was absent or of very small amplitude in Fischer rats but frequent and of large amplitude in Brown Norway rats and their F1 and F2 descendants. Most of the interstrain differences were limited to male rats. Spike-and-wave episodes recurred at predictable short-term (10-30 s) and long-term (15-30 min) periods. The long-term oscillation corresponded to a similar fluctuation of motor activity. The maximum probability of spike-and-wave patterns occurred at a relatively narrow range of delta power (0-3.1 Hz) of the background EEG activity. Systemic administration of the adrenergic alpha-2 agonist, clonidine, increased the incidence of spike-and-wave episodes several-fold. The total duration of spike-and-wave episodes in the clonidine sessions (15 min) and night sessions (12 h test) correlated significantly. We suggest that several genes interact with maturational, environmental and endocrine factors, resulting in sex differences, and produce the variety of EEG and behavioral findings encountered. In addition, we submit that the clonidine test may be useful in genetic investigations of human absence epilepsies. The findings of this work demonstrate that genetic manipulation of rodents is a promising method for producing analogous models for the various forms of human absence epilepsies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center