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Epilepsy Res. 1998 Jun;31(1):73-84.

Recurrent spontaneous motor seizures after repeated low-dose systemic treatment with kainate: assessment of a rat model of temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


Human temporal lobe epilepsy is associated with complex partial seizures that can produce secondarily generalized seizures and motor convulsions. In some patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, the seizures and convulsions occur following a latent period after an initial injury and may progressively increase in frequency for much of the patient's life. Available animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy are produced by acute treatments that often have high mortality rates and/or are associated with a low proportion of animals developing spontaneous chronic motor seizures. In this study, rats were given multiple low-dose intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of kainate in order to minimize the mortality rate usually associated with single high-dose injections. We tested the hypothesis that these kainate-treated rats consistently develop a chronic epileptic state (i.e. long-term occurrence of spontaneous, generalized seizures and motor convulsions) following a latent period after the initial treatment. Kainate (5 mg/kg per h, i.p.) was administered to rats every hour for several hours so that class III-V seizures were elicited for > or = 3 h, while control rats were treated similarly with saline. This treatment protocol had a relatively low mortality rate (15%). After acute treatment, rats were observed for the occurrence of motor seizures for 6-8 h/week. Nearly all of the kainate-treated rats (97%) had two or more spontaneous motor seizures months after treatment. With this observation protocol, the average latency for the first spontaneous motor seizure was 77+/-38 (+/-S.D.) days after treatment. Although variability was observed between rats, seizure frequency initially increased with time after treatment, and nearly all of the kainate-treated rats (91%) had spontaneous motor seizures until the time of euthanasia (i.e. 5-22 months after treatment). Therefore, multiple low-dose injections of kainate, which cause recurrent motor seizures for > or = 3 h, lead to the development of a chronic epileptic state that is characterized by (i) a latent period before the onset of chronic motor seizures, and (ii) a high but variable seizure frequency that initially increases with time after the first chronic seizure. This modification of the kainate-treatment protocol is efficient and relatively simple, and the properties of the chronic epileptic state appear similar to severe human temporal lobe epilepsy. Furthermore, the observation that seizure frequency initially increased as a function of time after kainate treatment supports the hypothesis that temporal lobe epilepsy can be a progressive syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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