Kindling, one of the most used models of experimental epilepsy is based on daily electrical stimulation in several brain structures. Unlike the classic or slow kindling protocols (SK), the rapid kindling types (RK) described until now require continuous stimulation at suprathreshold intensities applied directly to the same brain structure used for subsequent electrophysiological and immunohistochemical studies, usually the hippocampus. However, the cellular changes observed in these rapid protocols, such as astrogliosis and neuronal loss, could be due to experimental manipulation more than to epileptogenesis-related alterations. Here, we developed a new RK protocol in order to generate an improved model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) which allows gradual progression of the epilepsy as well as obtaining an epileptic hippocampus, thus avoiding direct surgical manipulation and electric stimulation over this structure. This new protocol consists of basolateral amygdala (BLA) stimulation with 10 trains of biphasic pulses (10 s; 50 Hz) per day with 20 min-intervals, during 3 consecutive days, using a subconvulsive and subthreshold intensity, which guarantees tissue integrity. The progression of epileptic activity was evaluated in freely moving rats through electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings from cortex and amygdala, accompanied with synchronized video recordings. Moreover, we assessed the effectiveness of RK protocol and the establishment of epilepsy by evaluating cellular alterations of hippocampal slices from kindled rats. RK protocol induced convulsive states similar to SK protocols but in 3 days, with persistently lowered threshold to seizure induction and epileptogenic-dependent cellular changes in amygdala projection areas. We concluded that this novel RK protocol introduces a new variant of the chronic epileptogenesis models in freely moving rats, which is faster, highly reproducible and causes minimum cell damage with respect to that observed in other experimental models of epilepsy.
Keywords: chronic-epilepsy; cortical-EEG; hippocampal-formation; kindling; stereotaxic-surgery.