Cyclicity of spontaneous recurrent seizures in pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy in rat

Exp Neurol. 2007 Jun;205(2):501-5. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2007.03.008. Epub 2007 Mar 16.


Pilocarpine administration to rats results in status epilepticus (SE) and after a latency period to the occurrence of spontaneous seizures. The model is commonly used to investigate mechanisms of epileptogenesis as well as the antiepileptic effects of novel compounds. Surprisingly, there have been no video-EEG studies determining the duration of latency period from SE to the appearance of the first spontaneous seizures or the type and frequency of spontaneous seizures at early phase of pilocarpine-induced epilepsy even though such information is critical for design of such studies. To address these questions, we induced SE with pilocarpine in 29 adult male Wistar rats with cortical electrodes. Rats were continuously video-EEG monitored during SE and up to 23 days thereafter. The first spontaneous seizures occurred 7.2+/-3.6 days after SE. During the follow-up, the mean daily seizure frequency was 2.6+/-1.9, the mean seizure duration 47+/-7 s, and the mean behavioral seizure score 3.2+/-0.9. Typically first seizures were partial (score 1-2). Interestingly, spontaneous seizures occurred in clusters with cyclicity, peaking every 5 to 8 days. These data show that in the pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy the latency period is short. Because many of the early seizures are partial and the seizures occur in clusters, the true phenotype of epilepsy triggered by pilocarpine-induced SE may be difficult to characterize without continuous long-term video-EEG monitoring. Finally, our data suggest that the model can be used for studies aiming at identifying the mechanisms of seizure clustering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / chemically induced*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Muscarinic Agonists*
  • Pilocarpine*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recurrence
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Status Epilepticus / chemically induced
  • Status Epilepticus / physiopathology
  • Status Epilepticus / psychology


  • Muscarinic Agonists
  • Pilocarpine