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J Neurosci. 1998 Nov 1;18(21):9002-9.

Mediodorsal thalamus plays a critical role in the development of limbic motor seizures.

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  • 1Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience and Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


Limbic motor seizures in animals, analogous to complex partial seizures in humans, result in a consistent activation of the mediodorsal thalamus (MD) and, with prolonged seizures, damage to MD. This study examined the functional role of MD in focally evoked limbic motor seizures in the rat. GABA- and glutamate (Glu)-mediated synaptic transmissions in MD were evaluated for an influence on seizures evoked from area tempestas (AT), a discrete epileptogenic site in the rostral piriform cortex. A GABAA receptor agonist, Glu receptor antagonists, or a GABA-elevating agent were focally microinfused into MD before evoking seizures by focal application of bicuculline methiodide into the ipsilateral AT. Focal pretreatment of MD with the GABAA agonist muscimol (190 pmol) protected against seizures evoked from AT. Seizure protection was also obtained with the focal application of 2, 3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoyl-benzo(F)quinoxaline (NBQX) (500 pmol), an antagonist of the AMPA subtype of Glu receptors, into MD. In contrast, focal pretreatment of MD with a competitive antagonist of the NMDA receptor 2-amino-7-phosphonoheptanoic acid (500 pmol) did not attenuate seizures. The anticonvulsant effects achieved with intra-MD injections of muscimol and NBQX were site-specific, because no seizure protection was obtained with injections placed 2 mm ventral or lateral to MD. Prolonged seizure protection was obtained following GABA elevation in MD after the application of the GABA transaminase inhibitor vigabatrin (194 nmol). These results suggest the following: (1) MD is a critical participant in the generation of seizures elicited focally from piriform cortex; (2) transmission via AMPA receptors, but not NMDA receptors, in MD regulates limbic seizure propagation; and (3) a GABA-mediated system exists within MD, the enhancement of which protects against focally evoked limbic motor seizures.

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