Factors influencing the acute pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure paradigm and a literature review

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2021 Jul;8(7):1388-1397. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51375. Epub 2021 Jun 8.


Objective: To confirm the critical factors affecting seizure susceptibility in acute pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) mouse epilepsy models and evaluate the prior literature for these factors.

Methods: Serial cohorts of wild-type mice administered intraperitoneal (IP)-PTZ were aggregated and analyzed by multivariate logistic regression for the effect of sex, age, background strain, dose, and physiologic stress (i.e., EEG implantation and/or single-housing) on seizure response. We assessed the reporting of these factors in a comprehensive literature review over the last 10 years (2010-2020).

Results: We conducted aggregated analysis of pooled data of 307 mice (220 C57BL/6J mice and 87 mixed background mice; 202 males, 105 females) with median age of 10 weeks (range: 6-49 weeks) with acute PTZ injection (dose range 40-65 mg/kg). Significance in multivariate analysis was found between seizures and increased PTZ dose (odds ratio (OR) 1.149, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.102-1.205), older age (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.041-1.170), physiologic stress (OR 17.36, 95% CI 7.349-44.48), and mixed background strain (OR 0.4725, 95% CI 0.2315-0.9345). Literature review identified 97 papers using acute PTZ-seizure models. Age, housing, sex, and background were omitted by 61% (59/97), 51% (49/97), 18% (17/97), and 8% (8/97) papers, respectively. Only 17% of publications specified all four factors (16/97).

Interpretation: Our analysis and literature review demonstrate a critical gap in standardization of acute PTZ-induced seizure paradigm in mice. We recommend that future studies specify and control for age, background strain, sex, and housing conditions of experimental animals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Convulsants / toxicity*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Pentylenetetrazole / toxicity*
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / genetics
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Isolation*
  • Species Specificity


  • Convulsants
  • Pentylenetetrazole