Comorbidities associated with epilepsy greatly reduce patients' quality of life. Since antiepilepsy drugs show limited success in ameliorating cognitive and behavioral symptoms, there is a need to better understand the mechanisms underlying epilepsy-related cognitive and behavioral impairments. Most prior research addressing this problem has focused on chronic epilepsy, wherein many factors can simultaneously impact cognition and behavior. The purpose of the present study was to develop a testing paradigm using mice that can provide new insight into how short-term biological changes underlying acute seizures impact cognition and behavior. In Experiment 1, naïve C57BL/6J mice were subjected to either three brief, generalized electroconvulsive seizure (ECS) or three sham treatments equally spaced over the course of 30 min. Over the next 2 h, mice were tested in a novel object recognition paradigm. Follow-up studies examined locomotor activity immediately before and after (Experiment 2), immediately after (Experiment 3), and 45 min after (Experiment 4) a set of three ECS or sham treatments. Whereas results demonstrated that there was no statistically significant difference in recognition memory acquisition between ECS and sham-treated mice, measures of anxiety-like behavior were increased and novel object interest was decreased in ECS-treated mice compared with that in sham. Interestingly, ECS also produced a delayed inhibitory effect on locomotion, decreasing open-field activity 45-min posttreatment compared to sham. We conclude that a small cluster of brief seizures can have acute, behaviorally relevant effects in mice, and that greater emphasis should be placed on events that take place before chronic epilepsy is established in order to better understand epilepsy-related cognitive and behavioral impairments. Future research would benefit from using the paradigms defined above to study the effects of individual seizures on mouse cognition and behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Behavioral Neuroscience