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In situ hybridization for c-fos mRNA reveals the involvement of the superior colliculus in the propagation of seizure activity in genetically epilepsy-prone rats


Previous work showed that bilateral lesions made between the inferior and superior colliculi reduced the severity of audiogenic seizures in genetically epilepsy-prone rats (GEPR-9s), and indicated that the connections between these two structures are vital for the propagation of seizure activity. To determine the involvement of the superior colliculus (SC) in seizure propagation, GEPR-9s were given four audiogenic seizures within 1 h by ringing a loud bell, and their brains were processed 30 min later for in situ hybridization for c-fos mRNA. Brain sections from such rats showed dense labeling in both the dorsal cortex and external nucleus of the inferior colliculus. Labeling continued rostrally into the intermediate and deep layers of the SC and the periaqueductal gray region. In addition, other brain regions such as the amygdala, piriform cortex and dorsal endopiriform nucleus showed dense labeling for c-fos mRNA. Comparable increases were not observed in the brains of Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats receiving auditory stimulation or in unstimulated GEPR-9s and SD rats, thereby indicating that increases in stimulated GEPR-9s are seizure-specific. This study provides further evidence that the SC is involved in the propagation of seizure activity in GEPR-9s, and also demonstrates the activation of other brain regions by audiogenic seizures.

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