Division of Fundamental Neurobiology, Krembil Research Institute; Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto; Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto; [Email]
Controlling seizures remains a challenging issue for the medical community. To make progress, researchers need a way to extensively study seizure dynamics and investigate its underlying mechanisms. Acute seizure models are convenient, offer the ability to perform electrophysiological recordings, and can generate a large volume of electrographic seizure-like (ictal) events. The promising findings from acute seizure models can then be advanced to chronic epilepsy models and clinical trials. Thus, studying seizures in acute models that faithfully replicate the electrographic and dynamical signatures of a clinical seizure will be essential for making clinically relevant findings. Studying ictal events in acute seizure models prepared from human tissue is also important for making findings that are clinically relevant. The key focus in this paper is on the cortical 4-AP model due to its versatility in generating ictal events in both in vivo and in vitro studies, as well as in both mouse and human tissue. The methods in this paper will also describe an alternative method of seizure induction using the Zero-Mg2+ model and provide a detailed overview of the advantages and limitations of the epileptiform-like activity generated in the different acute seizure models. Moreover, by taking advantage of commercially available optogenetic mouse strains, a brief (30 ms) light pulse can be used to trigger an ictal event identical to those occurring spontaneously. Similarly, 30 - 100 ms puffs of neurotransmitters (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid or glutamate) can be applied to the human tissue to trigger ictal events that are identical to those occurring spontaneously. The ability to trigger ictal events on-demand in acute seizure models offers the newfound ability to observe the exact sequence of events that underlie seizure initiation dynamics and efficiently evaluate potential anti-seizure therapies.