Epileptogenic actions of GABA and fast oscillations in the developing hippocampus

Neuron. 2005 Dec 8;48(5):787-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.09.026.


GABA excites immature neurons and inhibits adult ones, but whether this contributes to seizures in the developing brain is not known. We now report that in the developing, but not the adult, hippocampus, seizures beget seizures only if GABAergic synapses are functional. In the immature hippocampus, seizures generated with functional GABAergic synapses include fast oscillations that are required to transform a naive network to an epileptic one: blocking GABA receptors prevents the long-lasting sequels of seizures. In contrast, in adult neurons, full blockade of GABA(A) receptors generates epileptogenic high-frequency seizures. Therefore, purely glutamatergic seizures are not epileptogenic in the developing hippocampus. We suggest that the density of glutamatergic synapses is not sufficient for epileptogenesis in immature neurons; excitatory GABAergic synapses are required for that purpose. We suggest that the synergistic actions of GABA and NMDA receptors trigger the cascades involved in epileptogenesis in the developing hippocampus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / prevention & control
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Oscillometry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • GABA Antagonists
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid