The lithium-pilocarpine (Li-Pilo) model of epilepsy reproduces most of the features of human temporal lobe epilepsy. After having studied the metabolic changes occurring during the silent phase, in the present study, we explored the relationship between interictal metabolic changes and neuronal loss during the chronic phase following status epilepticus (SE) induced by Li-Pilo in 10-day-old (P10), 21-day-old (P21), and adult rats. Rats were observed and their EEG was recorded to detect the occurrence of spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS). Local cerebral glucose utilization was measured during the interictal period of the chronic phase, between 2 and 7 months after SE, by the [(14)C]2-deoxyglucose method in rats subjected to SE at P10, P21, or as adults. Neuronal damage was assessed by cell counting on adjacent cresyl violet stained sections. When SE was induced at P10, rats did not become epileptic, did not develop lesions and cerebral glucose utilization was in the normal range 7 months later. When SE was induced in adult rats, they all became epileptic after a mean duration of 25 days and developed lesions in the forebrain limbic areas, which were hypometabolic during the interictal period of the chronic phase, 2 months after SE. When SE was induced in P21 rats, 24% developed SRS, and in 43% seizures could be triggered (TS) by handling, after a mean delay of 74 days in both cases. The remaining 33% did not become epileptic (NS). The three groups of P21 rats developed quite comparable lesions mainly in the hilus of the dentate gyrus, lateral thalamus, and entorhinal cortex; at 6 months after SE, the forebrain was hypometabolic in NS and TS rats while it was normo- to slightly hypermetabolic in SRS rats. These data show that interictal metabolic changes are age-dependent. Moreover, there is no obvious correlation, in this model, between interictal hypometabolism and neuronal loss, as reported previously in human temporal lobe epilepsy.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.