A single early-life seizure impairs short-term memory but does not alter spatial learning, recognition memory, or anxiety

Epilepsy Behav. 2008 Nov;13(4):585-92. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 15.


The impact of a single seizure on cognition remains controversial. We hypothesized that a single early-life seizure (sELS) on rat Postnatal Day (P) 7 would alter only hippocampus-dependent learning and memory in mature (P60) rats. The Morris water maze, the novel object and novel place recognition tasks, and contextual fear conditioning were used to assess learning and memory associated with hippocampus/prefrontal cortex, perirhinal/hippocampal cortex, and amygdala function, respectively. The elevated plus maze and open-field test were used to assess anxiety associated with the septum. We report that sELS impaired hippocampus-dependent short-term memory, but not spatial learning or recall. sELS did not disrupt performance in the novel object and novel place recognition tasks. Contextual fear conditioning performance suggested intact amydgala function. sELS did not change anxiety levels as measured by the elevated plus maze or open-field test. Our data suggest that the long-term cognitive impact of sELS is limited largely to the hippocampus/prefrontal cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Conditioning, Classical / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Exploratory Behavior / radiation effects
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Kainic Acid
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / complications*
  • Space Perception / physiology*


  • Kainic Acid