Perforant path stimulation in rats produces seizures, loss of hippocampal neurons, and a deficit in spatial mapping which are reduced by prior MK-801

Behav Brain Res. 2000 Jan;107(1-2):59-69. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(99)00107-2.


Severe temporal lobe epilepsy in humans is often associated with loss of neurons in the hippocampus and memory deficits. In Experiment 1, 60 min of continuous electrical stimulation of the perforant path sufficient to produce seizures resembling status epilepticus and loss of hilar and pyramidal cells in the hippocampus, produced a deficit in spatial mapping in the Morris water tank. In particular, the previously stimulated rats took longer and swam farther to find a hidden, but not a visually cued, platform, and, in contrast to the unstimulated control rats, were not disrupted by movement of the platform to a new location. In Experiment 2, a single injection of the non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801 (1.0 mg/kg), just prior to the perforant path stimulation reduced the seizures, hippocampal neuronal loss, and deficit in spatial mapping. These data suggest that temporal lobe seizures can induce deficits in spatial memory by selectively destroying neurons within the hippocampus, and that the mechanism by which this occurs involves the activation of NMDA receptors, and, perhaps, consequent excitotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Escape Reaction / drug effects
  • Escape Reaction / physiology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / drug effects
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Orientation / drug effects
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Perforant Pathway / pathology
  • Perforant Pathway / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seizures / pathology
  • Seizures / physiopathology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Dizocilpine Maleate