Journal of pharmacological and toxicological methods

Evaluation of pro-convulsant risk in the rat: spontaneous and provoked convulsions.

PMID 25307194


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the utility of different tests performed in the absence or presence of factors promoting seizures in order to evaluate the pro-convulsant effects of drugs. We studied the effects of theophylline in the rat since this is a well-known pro-convulsant substance in humans. The occurrence of spontaneous convulsions following administration of theophylline was evaluated by observation in the Irwin Test and by measuring brain activity using video-EEG recording in conscious telemetered animals. Theophylline was also tested in the electroconvulsive shock (ECS) threshold and pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced convulsions tests, two commonly used models of provoked convulsions. In the Irwin test, theophylline induced convulsions in 1 out of 6 rats at 128 mg/kg. Paroxysmal/seizure activity was also observed by video-EEG recording in 4 out of the 12 animals tested at 128 mg/kg, in presence of clonic convulsions in 3 out of the 4 rats. Paroxysmal activity was observed in two rats in the absence of clear behavioral symptoms, indicating that some precursor signs can be detected using video-EEG. Clear pro-convulsant activity was shown over the dose-range 32-128 mg/kg in the ECS threshold and PTZ-induced convulsions tests. Evaluation of spontaneous convulsions provides information on the therapeutic window of a drug and the translational value of the approach is increased by the use of video-EEG. Tests based on provoked convulsions further complement the evaluation since they try to mimic high risk situations. Measurement of both spontaneous and provoked convulsions improves the evaluation of the pro-convulsant risk of novel pharmacological substances.