Resistance of the immature hippocampus to seizure-induced synaptic reorganization

Ellen F. Sperber, Kurt Z. Haas, Patric K. Stanton, Solomon L. Moshé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


Temporal lobe epilepsy is a common form of epilepsy in human adults and is associated with a unique pattern of damage in the hippocampus. The damage includes cell loss of the CA3 and CA4 areas and synaptic growth (sprouting) of mossy fibers in the supragranular layer of the dentate gyrus. Experimental evidence indicates that in adult rats the excitatory amino acid, kainic acid, induces a similar pattern of changes in hippocampal circuitry associated with alterations in perforant path excitation and inhibition. It has been suggested that, in humans, this type of damage may be a result of seizures early in life. In this study we examined the effects of kainic acid-induced status epilepticus on synaptic reorganization and paired-pulse electrophysiology in developing rats and adults. Kainic acid induced more severe seizures in 15-day-old rat pups than in adults. In contrast to adult rats, these seizures did not produce CA3/CA4 neuronal loss, mossy fiber sprouting or changes in paired-pulse excitation or inhibition in the hippocampus of rat pups tested 2-4 weeks after status epilepticus. Our results provide evidence that the immature hippocampus may be more resistant to seizure-induced changes than the mature hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 1991


  • Dentate gyrus
  • Hippocampus
  • Kainic acid
  • Mossy fiber
  • Rat
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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