General Conclusions

During the last 20 years, the GAERS and the WAG/Rij strains of Wistar rats have proven to be valid and predictive models of human absence epilepsy. Although some features of this form of epilepsy appear species specific (e.g., frequency, ontogeny, and aging), the pharmacologic reactivity and the underlying circuits described in both strains appear very similar to the human pathology. Differences between the two strains and recent identification of QTLs suggest that several genetic mechanisms can lead to the generation of SWDs. However, in both models the thalamocortical circuits clearly appear as the critical generator of absence seizures.

Multidisciplinary studies of these two strains, and also other strains and species, will improve our understanding of the role of the cortex and the thalamus, and probably other subcortical circuits, in the generation of SWDs.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank L. Danober, O. David, C. Deransart, I. Guillemain, P. Kahane, A. Nehlig, and B. Martin for their help in the preparation of the manuscript. A.D. wishes to thank Any Boehrer, Christian Marescaux, and Marguerite Vergnes for their fruitful collaboration during the past 20 years.

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FIGURE 15—1 Behavioral seizure stages, a: Frame-grabber image of a 7 days post fertilization zebrafish larvae in one well of a 96-well Falcon plate, b: Sample locomotion tracking plots are shown for individual zebrafish in normal Ringer's medium (baseline), during stage I (increased swimming activity), stage II (circling), and stage III (clonus-like convulsions). Blue lines indicate movement; dashed lines indicate rapid convulsive seizure activity (this fish exhibited <25 convulsive episodes). Plots were obtained from recording epochs 2 minutes in duration.

FIGURE 15—1 Behavioral seizure stages, a: Frame-grabber image of a 7 days post fertilization zebrafish larvae in one well of a 96-well Falcon plate, b: Sample locomotion tracking plots are shown for individual zebrafish in normal Ringer's medium (baseline), during stage I (increased swimming activity), stage II (circling), and stage III (clonus-like convulsions). Blue lines indicate movement; dashed lines indicate rapid convulsive seizure activity (this fish exhibited <25 convulsive episodes). Plots were obtained from recording epochs 2 minutes in duration.

Cx FPR

500 nV

Cx FPR

Cx FPL

J500 uV

FIGURE 18—1 Example of cortical electroencephalographic (EEG) recording of a spike-and-wave discharge in the genetic abscense epilepsy rats from Strasbourg (GAERS) and corresponding spectral analysis. Bottom, lower speed recording of the discharge showing the spike-wave complex. Cx FP R, right frontoparietal derivation; CxFP L, left frontoparietal derivation. (Courtesy of Colin Deransart.)

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