Do proconvulsants modify or halt epileptogenesis? Pentylenetetrazole is ineffective in two rat models of temporal lobe epilepsy

Authors

  • Marta Rattka,

    1. Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bünteweg 17, D-30559 Hannover, Germany
    2. Center for Systems Neuroscience, Hannover, Germany
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  • Claudia Brandt,

    1. Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bünteweg 17, D-30559 Hannover, Germany
    2. Center for Systems Neuroscience, Hannover, Germany
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  • Wolfgang Löscher

    1. Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, University of Veterinary Medicine, Bünteweg 17, D-30559 Hannover, Germany
    2. Center for Systems Neuroscience, Hannover, Germany
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Dr. W. Löscher, 1Department of Pharmacology, as above.
E-mail: wolfgang.loescher@tiho-hannover.de

Abstract

In patients at risk of developing epilepsy after an initial precipitating injury to the brain, the epileptogenic latent period may offer a window of opportunity for initiating potential antiepileptogenic therapy in an attempt to prevent epilepsy from developing. One potential target for antiepileptogenesis is the development of neuronal hyperexcitability during the latent period. Surprisingly, some recent studies in models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) have suggested that proconvulsant drugs could have favourable effects on epileptogenesis, resulting in the proposal of pursuing proconvulsant prophylaxis for epileptogenesis. In the present study, we evaluated this provocative hypothesis by experiments with the GABAA receptor antagonist pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) in two TLE models, the intrahippocampal kainate model and the lithium–pilocarpine model in rats. First, we repeatedly determined the PTZ seizure threshold by i.v. infusion of the convulsant during the latent period following intrahippocampal kainate. In line with recent experiments in the lithium–pilocarpine model, the PTZ seizure threshold was significantly decreased over several days following status epilepticus. We then studied whether prolonged infusion of a proconvulsant dose of PTZ at different times after kainate or pilocarpine affected the development of epilepsy. PTZ did not prevent the development of spontaneous recurrent seizures and did not decrease their frequency or severity, but exerted only a moderate disease-modifying effect in that spontaneous seizures in the kainate model were significantly shortened. These data indicate that administration of proconvulsant drugs such as PTZ during the latent period following SE is not a promising strategy for preventing epilepsy.

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