The relationship between sleep and epilepsy is both complex and clinically significant. Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) influences sleep architecture, while sleep plays an important role in facilitating and/or inhibiting possible epileptic seizures. The pilocarpine experimental model reproduces several features of human temporal lobe epilepsy and is one of the most widely used models in basic research. The aim of the present study was to characterize, behaviorally and electrophysiologically, the phases of sleep-wake cycles (SWC) in male rats with pilocarpine-induced epilepsy. Epileptic rats presented spikes in all phases of the SWC as well as atypical cortical synchronization during attentive wakefulness and paradoxical sleep. The architecture of the sleep-wake phases was altered in epileptic rats, as was the integrity of the SWC. Because our findings reproduce many relevant features observed in patients with epilepsy, this model is suitable to study sleep dysfunction in epilepsy.
(c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.