Experimental models of epilepsy
© Cambridge University Press 2012. There are two broad reasons for using experimental models of epilepsies. The first is to develop new treatments, and in particular to screen compounds as potential antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). The second is to discover the complex pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for epileptic seizures. The requirements for these two uses are rather different so I will consider them in turn, after first introducing another fundamental division within the experimental models of epilepsy: acute versus chronic. Acute experimental models of epilepsy use some treatment to trigger epileptic activity in normal brain tissue. Usually the trigger is a convulsant drug or other chemical, but can be electrical stimulation. In reality these are models of symptomatic seizures rather than epilepsy. Chronic experimental models of epilepsy use some intervention that reduces seizure thresholds permanently, or at least for long periods, and usually leads to spontaneous epileptic seizures. Drug screening, The requirements to screen compounds for their potential use as antiepileptic drugs are that they need (1) to predict antiepileptic activity in humans with epilepsy, and (2) to allow high throughput, which in general means the tests need to be quick and cheap. Most of this work is performed within pharmaceutical companies, but a small number of centres funded by national agencies or academic bodies are also involved in screening AEDs.