Progression and Generalization of Seizure Discharge: Anatomical and Neurochemical Substrates


Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3900 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, D.C., 20007, U.S.A.


Summary: Seizure activity is generated and propagated by specific subcortical circuits. The substantia nigra (SN) and the area tempestas (AT) have been identified as two exemplary substrates for the control of experimental seizures. In animal models, GABAergic transmission has been shown to protect against seizures of different origins and methods of induction. Neuroactive peptides and excitatory amino acids may work with GABA in the SN to control the propagation of a wide variety of seizure types. In contrast, inhibition of AT pons selectively protects against seizures associated with limbic circuits. The AT is also a site from which bilaterally synchronous convulsions can be triggered in response to manipulations of cholinergic, GABAergic, and excitatory amino acid receptors. Definition of other pathways of seizure development and the effects of pharmacologic treatments on discrete brain regions await further research efforts.