Absence epileptic activity in rat mothers
What is it about?
Absence epileptic activity was analyzed during pregnancy, the postpartum period and after weaning to establish alterations of seizures throughout the reproductive cycle. Wistar Albino Glaxo Rijswijk (WAG/Rij) rats were used in the study as a model of absence epilepsy and because their seizures do not interfere with rearing offspring. The number of spike-wave discharges (SWDs) was gradually elevated from the 19th pregnancy day to delivery. Meanwhile, the characteristics of individual SWDs did not change suggesting that SWD generation remained the same. In the postpartum and postweaning periods, the number of SWDs was not increased in the absence of pups. However, returning the pups to mothers resulted in a markedly elevated number of SWDs for 1 h. If pups were taken away after 30 min, the number of SWDs dropped immediately suggesting that the presence of pups increased the SWD number. The time mothers spent with the litter and in kyphosis suckling posture were in correlation with their SWD number further suggesting the importance of interaction with pups in SWD induction. Suckling elevates prolactin levels but surprisingly, its intracerebroventricular injection markedly reduced SWD number in suckled WAG/Rij mothers suggesting that the SWD-inducing effect of suckling is not mediated by prolactin. Rather, the elevated prolactin level may provide some protection against pro-epileptic effects of suckling.
Why is it important?
We first identified periods within the reproductive cycle with increased absence epileptic activity, implying that more attention should be devoted to epileptic activity changes in mothers.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Zsolt Kovacs