A chronic focal epilepsy with mossy fiber sprouting follows recurrent seizures induced by intrahippocampal tetanus toxin injection in infant rats

Neuroscience. 1999;92(1):73-82. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00746-5.


Studies were conducted to characterize a chronic epileptic condition that follows recurrent seizures induced by intrahippocampal tetanus toxin injection in infancy. Wistar rat pups received a single injection of tetanus toxin in the right CA3 region on postnatal day 10. Animals were monitored for epileptiform activity by video electroencephalographic or visual observation during the following three to five days. Repeat evaluation six months later demonstrated interictal discharges in 79% (11 of 14) and electrographic seizures in 42% (six of 14) of adult rats with tetanus toxin-induced seizures in infancy. Five of the animals had interictal activity which occurred focally in either the left (n = 2) or right (n = 3) hippocampus. One animal had focal interictal activity independently in these regions and in the left and right cortical regions. The remaining five animals had interictal activity in the hippocampus and synchronously in the ipsilateral cortex or the contralateral hippocampus. Electrographic seizures were focal (nine of 14) or bilateral (five of 14) in onset. The behaviors that accompanied these seizures were quite variable. Clonic face and forelimb movements were observed in some animals. However, a significant portion of rats had electrographic seizures with no associated behavioral change. Timm staining was performed on hippocampal sections from experimental and control animals. There was a significantly greater Timm score (aberrant Timm granules) in the inner molecular layer of the dentate gyrus in tetanus toxin-treated rats than in control rats. Our findings suggest that intrahippocampal tetanus toxin injection in infant rats results in a chronic focal epilepsy that persists for at least six months and is associated with aberrant mossy fiber sprouting in the dentate gyrus. The model described here contributes significantly to the evidence for chronic effects of recurrent seizures in early life, and provides a model for investigation of the molecular and cellular events that contribute to the development of chronic epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Coloring Agents
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Injections
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recurrence
  • Television
  • Tetanus Toxin*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Tetanus Toxin