Long-term effects of neonatal seizures: A behavioral, electrophysiological, and histological study

L. T. Huang, M. R. Cilio, D. C. Silveira, B. K. McCabe, Y. Sogawa, C. E. Stafstrom, G. L. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that recurrent seizures during the neonatal period lead to permanent changes in seizure threshold and learning and memory. The pathophysiological mechanisms for these changes are not clear. To determine if neonatal seizures cause changes in hippocampal excitability or inhibition, we subjected rats to 50 flurothyl-induced seizures during the first 10 days of life (five seizures per day). When the rats were adults, we examined seizure threshold using flurothyl inhalation, and learning and memory in the water maze. In separate groups of animals, we evaluated in vivo paired-pulse facilitation and inhibition in either CA1 with stimulation of the Schaffer collaterals or dentate gyrus with stimulation of the perforant path. Following these studies, the animals were sacrificed and the brains evaluated for mossy fiber sprouting with the Timm stain. Compared to control animals, rats with 50 flurothyl seizures had a reduced seizure threshold, impaired learning and memory in the water maze, and sprouting of mossy fibers in the CA3 pyramidal cell layer and molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. No significant differences in impaired paired-pulse inhibition was noted between the flurothyl-treated and control rats. This study demonstrates that recurrent neonatal seizures result in changes of neuronal connectivity and alterations in seizure susceptibility, learning and memory. However, the degree of impairment following 50 seizures was modest, demonstrating that the immature brain is remarkably resilient to seizure- induced damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 10 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Dentate gyrus
  • Epilepsy
  • Hippocampus
  • Paired-pulse inhibition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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