Febrile seizures: an appropriate-aged model suitable for long-term studies

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1997 Feb 20;98(2):265-70. doi: 10.1016/s0165-3806(96)00190-3.


Seizures induced by fever are the most prevalent age-specific seizures in infants and young children. Whether they result in long-term sequelae such as neuronal loss and temporal lobe epilepsy is controversial. Prospective studies of human febrile seizures have found no adverse effects on the developing brain. However, adults with temporal lobe epilepsy and associated limbic cell loss frequently have a history of prolonged febrile seizures in early life. These critical issues may be resolved using appropriate animal models. Published models of hyperthermic seizures have used 'adolescent' and older rats, have yielded a low percentage of animals with actual seizures, or have suffered from a high mortality, rendering them unsuitable for long-term studies. This article describes the establishment of a model of febrile seizures using the infant rat. Hyperthermia was induced by a regulated stream of mildly heated air, and the seizures were determined by both behavioral and electroencephalographic (EEG) criteria. Stereotyped seizures were generated in 93.6% of 10-11-day-old rats. EEG correlates of these seizures were not evident in cortical recordings, but were clearly present in depth recordings from the amygdala and hippocampus. Prolonged febrile seizures could be induced without burns, yielding a low mortality (11%) and long-term survival. In summary, in infant rat paradigm of EEG-confirmed, hyperthermia-induced seizures which is suitable for long-term studies is described. This model should be highly valuable for studying the mechanisms and sequelae of febrile seizures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electroencephalography
  • Fever / complications*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Seizures / etiology*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors