Effect of age on kainate-induced seizure severity and cell death

Neuroscience. 2008 Jun 26;154(3):1143-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.03.082. Epub 2008 Apr 11.


While the onset and extent of epilepsy increases in the aged population, the reasons for this increased incidence remain unexplored. The present study used two inbred strains of mice (C57BL/6J and FVB/NJ) to address the genetic control of age-dependent neurodegeneration by building upon previous experiments that have identified phenotypic differences in susceptibility to hippocampal seizure-induced cell death. We determined if seizure induction and seizure-induced cell death are affected differentially in young adult, mature, and aged male C57BL/6J and FVB/NJ mice administered the excitotoxin, kainic acid. Dose response testing was performed in three to four groups of male mice from each strain. Following kainate injections, mice were scored for seizure activity and brains from mice in each age group were processed for light microscopic histopathologic evaluation 7 days following kainate administration to evaluate the severity of seizure-induced brain damage. Irrespective of the dose of kainate administered or the age group examined, resistant strains of mice (C57BL/6J) continued to be resistant to seizure-induced cell death. In contrast, aged animals of the FVB/NJ strain were more vulnerable to the induction of behavioral seizures and associated neuropathology after systemic injection of kainic acid than young or middle-aged mice. Results from these studies suggest that the age-related increased susceptibility to the neurotoxic effects of seizure induction and seizure-induced injury is regulated in a strain-dependent manner, similar to previous observations in young adult mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists*
  • Kainic Acid*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / genetics
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Kainic Acid