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The dentate gyrus is thought to be a key area in containing the spread of seizure discharges in temporal lobe epilepsy. We investigated whether it actively contributes to the transition to seizure in vivo using the tetanus toxin chronic experimental epilepsy. Brief epileptic discharges lasted <2 s in freely moving animals and were clearly distinguishable from spontaneous seizures that lasted tens of seconds. This suggested that the changes underpinning the transition to seizure started within the first few seconds of seizure onset. During this period, we found that the amplitude of dentate gyrus population spikes depressed initially, but from 1.1 s after seizure onset, they potentiated. The amplitude and number of CA3 population spikes paralleled the pattern found in the dentate gyrus. We used hippocampal slices to study dentate filtering in more detail. The perforant pathway was stimulated repetitively at the frequency of field postsynaptic potentials found during epileptic discharges in vivo. The amplitude of dentate gyrus population spikes decreased to a steady state in naïve hippocampal slices. In hippocampal slices prepared from rats previously injected with tetanus toxin, population spike amplitude decreased transiently and then potentiated. We found that the biphasic profile and rate of potentiation of dentate population spikes in vivo can be reproduced in naïve hippocampal slices by blocking GABA(B) receptors. We conclude that the filtering properties of the dentate gyrus are altered in the tetanus toxin model of epilepsy and propose how this contributes to the transition to seizure in our animals.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurophysiol

Publication Date





2748 - 2753


Animals, Dentate Gyrus, Electroencephalography, Epilepsy, Evoked Potentials, GABA Antagonists, GABA-A Receptor Antagonists, Male, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Seizures, Tetanus Toxin