Early treatment suppresses the development of spike-wave epilepsy in a rat model.

Blumenfeld H, Klein JP, Schridde U, Vestal M, Rice T, Khera DS, Bashyal C, Giblin K, Paul-Laughinghouse C, Wang F, Phadke A, Mission J, Agarwal RK, Englot DJ, Motelow J, Nersesyan H, Waxman SG, Levin AR
Epilepsia. 2008 49 (3): 400-9

PMID: 18070091 · PMCID: PMC3143182 · DOI:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01458.x

PURPOSE - Current treatments for epilepsy may control seizures, but have no known effects on the underlying disease. We sought to determine whether early treatment in a model of genetic epilepsy would reduce the severity of the epilepsy phenotype in adulthood.

METHODS - We used Wistar albino Glaxo rats of Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats, an established model of human absence epilepsy. Oral ethosuximide was given from age p21 to 5 months, covering the usual period in which seizures develop in this model (age approximately 3 months). Two experiments were performed: (1) cortical expression of ion channels Nav1.1, Nav1.6, and HCN1 (previously shown to be dysregulated in WAG/Rij) measured by immunocytochemistry in adult treated rats; and (2) electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings to measure seizure severity at serial time points after stopping the treatment.

RESULTS - Early treatment with ethosuximide blocked changes in the expression of ion channels Nav1.1, Nav1.6, and HCN1 normally associated with epilepsy in this model. In addition, the treatment led to a persistent suppression of seizures, even after therapy was discontinued. Thus, animals treated with ethosuximide from age p21 to 5 months still had a marked suppression of seizures at age 8 months.

DISCUSSION - These findings suggest that early treatment during development may provide a new strategy for preventing epilepsy in susceptible individuals. If confirmed with other drugs and epilepsy paradigms, the availability of a model in which epileptogenesis can be controlled has important implications both for future basic studies, and human therapeutic trials.

MeSH Terms (22)

Animals Animals, Newborn Anticonvulsants Cerebral Cortex Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels Disease Models, Animal Electroencephalography Epilepsy, Absence Ethosuximide Female Humans Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channels Ion Channels NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel NAV1.6 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Nerve Tissue Proteins Phenotype Potassium Channels Rats Rats, Wistar Severity of Illness Index Sodium Channels

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