Evaluation of the pentylenetetrazole seizure threshold test in epileptic mice as surrogate model for drug testing against pharmacoresistant seizures.

Research paper by Kathrin K Töllner, Friederike F Twele, Wolfgang W Löscher

Indexed on: 02 Mar '16Published on: 02 Mar '16Published in: Epilepsy & Behavior


Resistance to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is a major problem in epilepsy therapy, so that development of more effective AEDs is an unmet clinical need. Several rat and mouse models of epilepsy with spontaneous difficult-to-treat seizures exist, but because testing of antiseizure drug efficacy is extremely laborious in such models, they are only rarely used in the development of novel AEDs. Recently, the use of acute seizure tests in epileptic rats or mice has been proposed as a novel strategy for evaluating novel AEDs for increased antiseizure efficacy. In the present study, we compared the effects of five AEDs (valproate, phenobarbital, diazepam, lamotrigine, levetiracetam) on the pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) seizure threshold in mice that were made epileptic by pilocarpine. Experiments were started 6weeks after a pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. At this time, control seizure threshold was significantly lower in epileptic than in nonepileptic animals. Unexpectedly, only one AED (valproate) was less effective to increase seizure threshold in epileptic vs. nonepileptic mice, and this difference was restricted to doses of 200 and 300mg/kg, whereas the difference disappeared at 400mg/kg. All other AEDs exerted similar seizure threshold increases in epileptic and nonepileptic mice. Thus, induction of acute seizures with PTZ in mice pretreated with pilocarpine does not provide an effective and valuable surrogate method to screen drugs for antiseizure efficacy in a model of difficult-to-treat chronic epilepsy as previously suggested from experiments with this approach in rats.