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Keywords:

  • Kindling;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Animal models of human disease

Summary:  Kindling is one of the most widely used models of seizures and epilepsy, and it has been used in its more than three decade history to provide many key insights into seizures and epilepsy. It remains a mainstay of epilepsy related research, but the question remains how the results from kindling experiments further our understanding of the underlying neurobiology of human epilepsy. In this article we compare the basic features of kindling and human epilepsy, especially human limbic or temporal lobe epilepsy. In this review we focus on a limited number of topics that may show areas in which kindling has been often cited as a tool for better understanding of human epilepsy. These areas include the underlying circuits, the importance of seizure spontaneity, the associated neuropathology, the contribution of genetics, seizure susceptibility, and the underlying pathophysiology of epilepsy. In the course of this article we will show that there are many features that kindling can teach us by direct comparison or implication about human temporal epilepsy. We will also see that not all findings associated with kindling may be applicable to the human condition. Ultimately we wish to encourage critical thinking about kindling and the similarities that it shares and does not share with the human epilepsy so the results from studies using this model are applied rationally to further our insights the mechanisms of human epilepsy.