Hormonal and gestational parameters in female rats submitted to the pilocarpine model of epilepsy

Epilepsy Res. 1998 Sep;32(1-2):266-74. doi: 10.1016/s0920-1211(98)00057-6.


Endocrine and reproductive alterations are frequently reported to occur in women with temporal lobe epilepsy as well as in female rats in different experimental models of limbic seizures. As previously reported, women with epilepsy have lower fertility rates than women without epilepsy (Tanganelli, P., Regesta, G., 1992. Neurology (suppl.) 42 (5), 89-93; Cummings, L.N., Guidice, L., Morrel, M.J., 1995. Epilepsia 36, 355-359). In order to investigate the possible substrate of endocrine alterations in epilepsy, hormonal and gestational parameters were studied in female rats submitted to the pilocarpine model of epilepsy. The results demonstrated that the oestrus cycle is altered following pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus and such alteration lasted for several weeks. Progesterone, LH and FSH levels decreased and estradiol levels increased significantly during the period of spontaneous and recurrent seizures. The frequency of seizures during pregnancy and lactation decreased. These results document that significant changes in gonadal, hypophyseal and hypothalamic hormones, as well as in sexual behaviour, occur following status epilepticus induced by pilocarpine administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epilepsy / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estrus / drug effects
  • Estrus / physiology
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism
  • Pilocarpine / pharmacology*
  • Pituitary Gland / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Prolactin / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Status Epilepticus / chemically induced
  • Status Epilepticus / physiopathology*
  • Vagina / cytology
  • Vagina / drug effects


  • Pilocarpine
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone