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Animal models of epilepsy: use and limitations

Authors Kandratavicius L, Balista PA, Lopes-Aguiar C, Ruggiero RN, Umeoka EH, Garcia-Cairasco N, Bueno-Junior LS, Leite JP

Received 18 June 2014

Accepted for publication 10 July 2014

Published 9 September 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 1693—1705

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S50371

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ludmyla Kandratavicius,1 Priscila Alves Balista,1 Cleiton Lopes-Aguiar,1 Rafael Naime Ruggiero,1 Eduardo Henrique Umeoka,2 Norberto Garcia-Cairasco,2 Lezio Soares Bueno-Junior,1 Joao Pereira Leite1

1Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, 2Department of Physiology, Ribeirao Preto School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil

Abstract: Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures that affects millions of people worldwide. Comprehension of the complex mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis and seizure generation in temporal lobe epilepsy and other forms of epilepsy cannot be fully acquired in clinical studies with humans. As a result, the use of appropriate animal models is essential. Some of these models replicate the natural history of symptomatic focal epilepsy with an initial epileptogenic insult, which is followed by an apparent latent period and by a subsequent period of chronic spontaneous seizures. Seizures are a combination of electrical and behavioral events that are able to induce chemical, molecular, and anatomic alterations. In this review, we summarize the most frequently used models of chronic epilepsy and models of acute seizures induced by chemoconvulsants, traumatic brain injury, and electrical or sound stimuli. Genetic models of absence seizures and models of seizures and status epilepticus in the immature brain were also examined. Major uses and limitations were highlighted, and neuropathological, behavioral, and neurophysiological similarities and differences between the model and the human equivalent were considered. The quest for seizure mechanisms can provide insights into overall brain functions and consciousness, and animal models of epilepsy will continue to promote the progress of both epilepsy and neurophysiology research.

Keywords: epilepsy, animal model, pilocarpine, kindling, neurodevelopment

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