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The effect of pretreatment with either tetanus toxin (in ventral hippocampus) or kainic acid (into dorsal hippocampus, with or without suppression of seizures by phenobarbital) on the subsequent development of epilepsy in rats injected with tetanus toxin (into ventral hippocampus) has been studied. Both treatments advanced the timing of the development of the subsequent epilepsy by a few days but did not affect the severity of the syndrome. The fits stopped after 3 weeks in all the rats but recurred in 6 of 20 of those given kainic acid, with or without phenobarbital, but not in those given only tetanus toxin. It is concluded that while fits make the brain more sensitive to a further epileptogenic stimulus they do not themselves increase their severity or persistence. It is the destruction of the CA3/4 area of the hippocampus which results in this advance and in the predisposition to permanent epilepsy.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiol Dis

Publication Date





679 - 691


Animals, Anticonvulsants, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Epilepsy, Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists, Hippocampus, Kainic Acid, Male, Phenobarbital, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Recurrence, Tetanus Toxin