Maturation of kainate-induced epileptiform activities in interconnected intact neonatal limbic structures in vitro

Eur J Neurosci. 1999 Oct;11(10):3468-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00768.x.


In vivo studies suggest that ontogenesis of limbic seizures is determined by the development of the limbic circuit. We have now used the newly-developed in vitro intact interconnected neonatal rat limbic structures preparation to determine the developmental profile of kainate-induced epileptiform activity in the hippocampus and its propagation to other limbic structures. We report gradual alterations in the effects of kainate during the first postnatal week on an almost daily basis; from no epileptiform activity at birth, through interictal seizures around postnatal day (P) 2 and ictal seizures by the end of the first week. The developmental profile of kainate-induced hippocampal seizures is paralleled by the expression of postsynaptic kainate receptor-mediated currents in CA3 pyramidal cells. Intralimbic propagation of the hippocampal seizures is also age-dependent: whereas seizures readily propagate to the septum and to the contralateral hippocampus via the commissures on P2, propagation to the entorhinal cortex only takes place from P4 onwards. Finally, repeated brief applications of kainate to the hippocampus induce recurrent spontaneous glutamatergic ictal and interictal discharges which persist for several hours after the kainate is washed away and which replace the physiological pattern of network activity. Paroxysmal activities are thus generated by kainate in the hippocampus at an early developmental stage and are initially restricted to this structure. Before the end of the first week of postnatal life, kainate generates the epileptiform activities that may perturb activity-dependent mechanisms that modulate neuronal development. Although at this stage neurons are relatively resistant to the pathological effects of kainate, the epileptiform activities that it generates will perturb activity-dependent mechanisms that modulate neuronal development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology
  • Entorhinal Cortex / drug effects
  • Entorhinal Cortex / growth & development
  • Entorhinal Cortex / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / growth & development
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Kainic Acid
  • Limbic System / drug effects
  • Limbic System / growth & development*
  • Limbic System / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Septal Nuclei / drug effects
  • Septal Nuclei / growth & development
  • Septal Nuclei / physiopathology
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Benzodiazepines
  • GYKI 53655
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • Potassium
  • Kainic Acid
  • Calcium