• Acetylcholine;
  • Eserine;
  • Evoked potentials;
  • Neuronal synchronization;
  • Spontaneous discharges;

Summary:  Purpose: We previously demonstrated that the anticholinesterase eserine provokes interictal-like discharges in the CA3 area of hippocampal slices from rats in which generalized seizures had been induced by pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) when immature. In this study, we investigated several factors as the possible mechanism for this effect, including age at convulsions.

Methods: Rats were injected with PTZ on postnatal day (P) 18–20 or >P60, and neuronal activity was recorded intra- and extracellularly from CA3 5–10 or >40 days later. In additional experiments, convulsions were triggered by kainate or were blocked by pentobarbital. Hippocampal (a) acetylcholine (ACh) innervation density was measured by immunocytochemistry, and ACh and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) contents were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-electrospray ionization.

Results: The excitatory effect of eserine was the most consistent in slices from rats PTZ-treated when immature and after the long interval, whereas the reverse was true in rats treated as adults. This effect was dependent on the occurrence of a seizure and was less prevalent when the seizure had been provoked by kainate. Adult animals PTZ-treated at P20 did not differ from control in (a) poly- or monosynaptic GABAA and GABAB CA3 inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs); (b) density of ACh innervation; or (c) tissue content of ACh and GABA.

Conclusions: A PTZ-induced generalized seizure in immature rat provokes endogenous ACh-induced interictal-like discharges in adult hippocampal CA3. This effect is only transiently observed if the seizure was induced in adult. It does not appear to be related to a change in GABAergic inhibition, in density of ACh innervation, or in ACh or GABA content.