Spatial learning deficits and emotional impairments in pentylenetetrazole-kindled rats

Farzad Mortazavi, Mathew Ericson, Darren Story, Verne D. Hulce, Gary L. Dunbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) is a chemical kindling agent used to examine the efficacy of potential anticonvulsants in rats. However, the extent to which PTZ mimics postseizure symptoms of epilepsy has not been thoroughly examined. This study assessed whether PTZ-induced seizures produce cognitive and emotional deficits that mimic those observed in many epileptic patients. Rats were given 30 mg/kg PTZ or vehicle (intraperitoneally) every other day for 28 days. Those rats exhibiting consistent seizure activity were tested for learning ability and emotional reactivity, beginning 1 week following a single challenge dose of PTZ. Rats given PTZ made more reference memory errors in a radial arm water maze task, and exhibited emotional abnormalities in the forced swim test, the systematic handling test, and the open-field exploratory maze. Histological analysis revealed neuronal loss in the CA1 area and increased mossy fiber sprouting in the dentate gyrus, similar to what is observed in human epilepsy. These results indicate that PTZ kindling provides a useful model of postseizure dysfunction, which can serve as a screen for potential treatments for those cognitive, emotional, and neuropathological deficits that resemble those symptoms observed in human epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-638
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Aggression
  • Behavior
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Fear
  • Kindling
  • Open field
  • Pentylenetetrazole
  • Radial arm water maze
  • Spatial learning


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