No loss of hippocampal hilar somatostatinergic neurons after repeated electroconvulsive shock: a combined stereological and in situ hybridization study

Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Jul 1;40(1):54-60. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(95)00355-x.


Electrically induced seizures with anesthesia and muscle relaxation (ECT) is commonly used in the therapy of psychotic depression in humans. Unmodified electroshock (ECS) is used as a model for epilepsy in the rat. In several seizure models of epilepsy, in particular the dentate hilar somatostatin-containing (SSergic) neurons have been found to undergo degeneration. To assess the potential loss of SSergic hilar neurons after repeated ECS, 10 rats were given 110 ECS, one per day, 5 days a week. One day after the last ECS the rats were anesthesized, perfused, the brains cut on a vibratome and prepared for nonradioactive in situ hybridization for somatostatin along with five control rats. Like rats given 10-36 ECS in earlier studies, the ECS-treated rats displayed a markedly increased neuronal hybridization labeling when compared with control rats. The total number of dentate hilar SSergic neurons of each rat was estimated using the optical disector technique. The mean number of hilar SSergic neurons in the ECS-treated rats was 12,785, compared to 12,392 in the control rats. The total number of hilar SSergic neurons in ECS-treated versus control rats was not significantly different (Student's t test; t value = .35; p = .74). We conclude that repeated ECS treatment does not cause loss of hilar SSergic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cell Count
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / pathology
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / physiopathology
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seizures / pathology
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Somatostatin / physiology*


  • Somatostatin