SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

A single episode of status epilepticus (SE) induced in rodents by the convulsant pilocarpine, produces, after a latent period of ≥ 2 weeks, a chronic epileptic condition. During the latent period of epileptogenesis, most CA1 pyramidal cells that normally fire in a regular pattern, acquire low-threshold bursting behaviour, generating high-frequency clusters of 3–5 spikes as their minimal response to depolarizing stimuli. Recruitment of a Ni2+- and amiloride-sensitive T-type Ca2+ current (ICaT), shown to be up-regulated after SE, plays a critical role in burst generation in most cases. Several lines of evidence suggest that ICaT driving bursting is located in the apical dendrites. Thus, bursting was suppressed by focally applying Ni2+ to the apical dendrites, but not to the soma. It was also suppressed by applying either tetrodotoxin or the KV7/M-type K+ channel agonist retigabine to the apical dendrites. Severing the distal apical dendrites ∼150 μm from the pyramidal layer also abolished this activity. Intradendritic recordings indicated that evoked bursts are associated with local Ni2+-sensitive slow spikes. Blocking persistent Na+ current did not modify bursting in most cases. We conclude that SE-induced increase in ICaT density in the apical dendrites facilitates their depolarization by the backpropagating somatic spike. The ICaT-driven dendritic depolarization, in turn, spreads towards the soma, initiating another backpropagating spike, and so forth, thereby creating a spike burst. The early appearance and predominance of ICaT-driven low-threshold bursting in CA1 pyramidal cells that experienced SE most probably contribute to the emergence of abnormal network discharges and may also play a role in the circuitry reorganization associated with epileptogenesis.