BackgroundEpidemiological evidence indicates epilepsy is more common in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (20-25%) than in the general population. The aim of this project was to analyze seizure susceptibility in developing rats prenatally exposed to valproic acid (VPA) as autism model.
MethodsPregnant females were injected with VPA during the twelfth embryonic day. Seizures were induced in fourteen-days-old rat pups using two models of convulsions: pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) and lithium-pilocarpine (Li-Pilo).
ResultsTwo subgroups with different PTZ-induced seizure susceptibility in rats exposed to VPA were found: a high susceptibility (VPA+) (28/42, seizure severity 5) and a low susceptibility (VPA-) (14/42, seizure severity 2). The VPA+ subgroup exhibited an increased duration of the generalized tonic-clonic seizure (GTCS; 45 ± 2.7 min), a higher number of rats showed several GTCS (14/28) and developed status epilepticus (SE) after PTZ injection (19/27) compared with control animals (36.6 ± 1.9 min; 10/39; 15/39, respectively). No differences in seizure severity, latency or duration of SE induced by Li-Pilo were detected between VPA and control animals.
DiscussionPrenatal VPA modifies the susceptibility to PTZ-induced seizures in developing rats, which may be linked to an alteration in the GABAergic transmission. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the comorbidity between autism and epilepsy.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC5131616 | BioStudies |