Veratridine-Induced Wet Dog Shake Behaviour and Apoptosis in Rat Hippocampus


Author for correspondence: Sameer Otoom, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Medical University of Bahrain, P.O. Box 15503, Adliya, Kingdom of Bahrain (fax +973 17583600, e-mail,


Abstract: We have previously evaluated veratridine as an in vitro model of seizure using conventional electrophysiological recordings in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurones. The aim of this investigation is to further characterize this convulsant as an in vivo model of seizure. Veratridine was administered intraperitoneally to male Fisher rats in a dose range of 100–400 μg/kg. Within 5 min. after the injections, the animals entered a quiescent period which was followed 10–15 min. later by facial automatism (washing), grooming, masticatory jaw movement and profuse salivation. This phenomenon was followed by the development of wet dog shake and forelimb clonus. The time (mean±S.E.M.) for the onset of induction of these shakes for all tested doses was 31.65±2.85 min. and the number of shakes (mean±S.E.M.) 30 min. after the onset was 17.2±2.85. The onset and number of wet dog shakes induced by veratridine was dose-dependent. No rat death was recorded until 2 weeks after the experiments. Histopathological studies of animals 2 weeks after veratridine administration showed evidence of apoptosis in the hippocampus. Our results indicate that veratridine produced a behavioural pattern of a limbic seizure which mimics temporal lobe epilepsy in man. Based on our previous findings in vitro and of this investigation in vivo, veratridine can be used as an experimental tool to evaluate potential antiepileptic drugs effective against this type of limbic behaviour.