Involvement of electrical coupling in the in vivo ictal epileptiform activity induced by 4-aminopyridine in the neocortex

Neuroscience. 2002;115(4):1067-78. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00533-x.


In the present study we have investigated the possible role of gap junctions in the induction and manifestation of 4-aminopyridine-induced acute seizure activity both at the primary focus and at the mirror focus in anaesthetized rats by combining electrophysiological, pharmacological and molecular biological techniques. In the course of the intracellular recordings, unusual firing patterns that are assumed to be mediated by electrical coupling and appearing either randomly or in close time-locked manner with the ictal discharges were observed. In another series of experiments, a significant decrease in the intensity of seizure activity of the already active epileptic foci was detected when electrical synaptic transmission was blocked by carbenoxolone either at the primary focus or at the mirror focus. When electrical synaptic transmission was depressed relative to the initial baseline prior to the induction of epileptic focus, only a mild influence on the induction of seizure discharges occurred. The role of the gap junctional communication in the epileptiform activity was further investigated by following the expression pattern of two connexin genes. Both, connexin-32 and connexin-43 mRNA levels were significantly elevated at the primary focus as well as at the mirror focus, after 60 min of repeated ictal discharges. We conclude that gap junction communication probably became a part of the neuronal synchronization both in the primary and in the secondarily-induced acute epileptiform activity in the neocortex in vivo. These results, together with earlier observations, indicate a direction for the development of new drugs targeting gap junctions for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Carbenoxolone / pharmacology
  • Connexin 43 / genetics
  • Connexins / genetics*
  • Cortical Synchronization / drug effects
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy / metabolism*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gap Junction beta-1 Protein
  • Gap Junctions / drug effects
  • Gap Junctions / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Neocortex / drug effects
  • Neocortex / metabolism*
  • Neocortex / physiopathology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Connexin 43
  • Connexins
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • 4-Aminopyridine
  • Carbenoxolone