Epilepsy & behavior : E&B

Temporally unstructured electrical stimulation to the amygdala suppresses behavioral chronic seizures of the pilocarpine animal model.

PMID 24935084


Electrical stimulation applied to the basolateral amygdala in the pentylenetetrazole animal model of seizures may result in either a proconvulsant or an anticonvulsant effect depending on the interpulse intervals used: periodic or nonperiodic, respectively. We tested the effect of this electrical stimulation temporal coding on the spontaneous and recurrent behavioral seizures produced in the chronic phase of the pilocarpine animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy, an experimental protocol that better mimics the human condition. After 45 days of the pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, male Wistar rats were submitted to a surgical procedure for the implantation of a bipolar electrical stimulation electrode in the right basolateral amygdala and were allowed to recover for seven days. The animals were then placed in a glass box, and their behaviors were recorded daily on DVD for 6h for 4 consecutive days (control period). Spontaneous recurrent behavioral seizures when showed in animals were further recorded for an extra 4-day period (treatment period), under periodic or nonperiodic electrical stimulation. The number, duration, and severity of seizures (according to the modified Racine's scale) during treatment were compared with those during the control period. The nonperiodically stimulated group displayed a significantly reduced total number and duration of seizures. There was no difference between control and treatment periods for the periodically stimulated group. Results corroborate previous findings from our group showing that nonperiodic electrical stimulation has a robust anticonvulsant property. In addition, results from the pilocarpine animal model further strengthen nonperiodic electrical stimulation as a valid therapeutic approach in current medical practice. Our working hypothesis is that temporally unstructured electrical stimulation may wield its effect by desynchronizing neural networks involved in the ictogenic process.