• epilepsy;
  • excitotoxicity;
  • hippocampus


We assessed inbred, outbred and hybrid mouse strains for susceptibility to seizures and neurodegeneration induced by systemic administration of kainic acid (KA). Each strain showed a unique pattern of susceptibility to seizures as assessed by the dose necessary to induce continuous tonic clonic seizures, progression through six seizure levels, the number of mice that failed to satisfy seizure criteria, and seizure-induced mortality. In general, the C57BL/6, ICR, FVB/N, and BALB/c strains were resistant to seizures while the C57BL/10, DBA/2 J, and F1 C57BL/6*CBA/J strains were vulnerable. Neuronal cell death was quantified in four subfields of the hippocampus: CA3, the hilus of the dentate gyrus, CA1, and the dentate granule cell layer. Neurodegeneration was also semiquantitatively assessed in other brain regions including the neocortex, striatum, thalamus, hypothalamus and amygdala. Although there was variability in the extent of cell death within strains, there were significant differences in the amount of hippocampal cell death between strains and also different patterns of neurodegeneration in affected brain areas. In general, the C57BL/6, C57BL/10, and F1 C57BL/6*CBA/J strains were resistant to neurodegeneration while the FVB/N, ICR and DBA/2 J strains were vulnerable. The BALB/c strain was unique in that neurodegeneration was confined to the hippocampus. Consistent with previous findings, the resistant neurodegeneration phenotype was dominant in an F1 cross of resistant and vulnerable inbred strains. Our results, using a large number of mouse strains, definitively demonstrate that a mouse strain's seizure phenotype is not related to its neurodegeneration phenotype.