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The influence of cortical lesions on penicillin induced convulsive activity in the awake rat.

E. Horn, K. Esseling, H. H. Kornhuber


1. Experiments were performed to investigate the effects of cortical lesions on convulsive behaviour. Rats were lesioned in the left motor or sensory cortex by aspirating cortical tissue 2 to 3 months prior to the elicitation of convulsions. Convulsions were induced in the awake rats by the GABA antagonist Na-penicillin (Na-PCN) which was applied into the superficial layer of the foreleg field of their right motor cortex. Convulsive activity was recorded by means of the EEG. 2. The time courses of convulsive cortical activity were similar in the animals without or with a cortical lesion. Generalized seizures belonged to the tonic-clonic type in both intact and lesioned rats. 3. The early period of convulsive activity was described by the time to the onset (latency) of the first convulsive potential, jerk and seizure, and by the mean repetition rate of jerks during the first ten minutes, and the duration of the first generalized seizure. None of these parameters was significantly affected by a cortical lesion. 4. The median duration of the convulsive activity in intact animals was 162 min. In rats with a lesion in the sensory cortex it raised to more than 540 min while a lesion of the motor cortex increased the median duration to more than 273 min. The differences between intact and lesioned rats were significant (p less than 0.01 and p = 0.05, respectively). 5. The median time to the onset of the last generalized seizure in intact rats corresponded to 92 min with respect to the time of Na-PCN application. In rats with a lesion of the sensory cortex the last seizure was generated 433 min and in animals with a lesion of the motor cortex 167 min after Na-PCN treatment of the motor cortex of one side. This increase of latency of the last seizure was significant for the rats with a lesioned sensory area (p less than 0.02) or motor area (p = 0.05) compared to that of the intact rats. Additionally, the number of generalized seizures was significantly (p less than 0.01) increased by both groups of rats with a lesion of the motor or sensory cortex. 6. It is suggested that a substantial lesion of the cortex decreases predominantly the intrinsic cortical inhibition thus destabilizing brain function. This destabilizing effect becomes pronounced under the condition of superimposed suppression of the GABAergic cortical component. It is concluded that the intrinsic cortical inhibitory mechanism which in the intact brain acts against hyperexcitation and prevents the development of neuronal synchronization, i.e. the formation of seizures, becomes less effective in performing this task once an abnormal brain activation has developed.

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