Role of extracellular space in hyperosmotic suppression of potassium-induced electrographic seizures

J Neurophysiol. 1989 May;61(5):927-38. doi: 10.1152/jn.1989.61.5.927.


1. Focal electrographic seizures arose in the CA1 region of rat hippocampal slices bathed in elevated (8.5 mM) external potassium [( K+]o). High [K+]o also induced spontaneous interictal bursts that originated in area CA3 and propagated to CA1. To examine the contribution to electrographic seizure initiation of excitatory mechanisms that are influenced by extracellular volume, we studied the effect of hyperosmotic expansion of interstitial volume on seizure occurrence, interictal bursts, and excitatory synaptic transmission. The tissue electrical resistance was also measured leading up to and during seizures. 2. Media made 5-30 mosmol/kg hyperosmotic by addition of agents restricted to the extracellular space (mannitol, sucrose, raffinose, L-glucose, dextran) rapidly and reversibly abolished [K+]o-induced spontaneous CA1 seizures in 86% of slices tested. However, similar increases in osmolality effected by agents that access the intracellular compartment (D-glucose, glycerol) did not influence electrographic seizure occurrence. Hyperosmotic changes with plasma membrane impermeable compounds, but not permeable compounds, produced significant concentration-dependent decreases (1-10%) in the electrical resistance of CA1 stratum pyramidale. Because tissue resistance is proportional to extracellular volume, these results suggest that hyperosmotic suppression of electrographic seizures is associated with expansion of the extracellular space in hippocampal slices. 3. Measurement of electrical resistance of the CA1 stratum pyramidale during spreading depression and electrographic seizure revealed an increase in tissue resistance to 122% and 108% of control, respectively. Furthermore, a slight (approximately 2%) but significant increase in electrical resistance gradually occurred over the 20 s immediately preceding seizure generation. The observed increase in tissue resistance suggests extracellular space is decreased during these events. 4. Hyperosmolality did not alter CA3 interictal burst frequency. However, burst intensity, estimated from the total length of the burst waveform, was significantly reduced in both the CA3 (83% control) and CA1 region (67% control) when osmotic changes were imposed by plasma membrane impermeant compounds. Additionally, media made hypoosmotic by removal of 7.5 mM NaCl reversibly increased burst intensity. 5. High [K+]o potentiated excitatory synaptic transmission and excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) spike coupling.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Extracellular Space / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Hypotonic Solutions
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Potassium / pharmacology*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / physiopathology*


  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Hypotonic Solutions
  • Potassium