Distinct behavioral phenotypes in novel "fast" kindling-susceptible and "slow" kindling-resistant rat strains selected by stimulation of the hippocampal perforant path

Tomer Langberg, Ryan Dashek, Bernard Mulvey, Kimberly A. Miller, Susan Osting, Carl E. Stafstrom, Thomas P. Sutula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Kindling is a phenomenon of activity-dependent neural circuit plasticity induced by repeated seizures that results in progressive permanent increases in susceptibility to epilepsy. As the permanent structural and functional modifications induced by kindling include a diverse range of molecular, cellular, and functional alterations in neural circuits, it is of interest to determine if genetic background associated with seizure-induced plasticity might also influence plasticity in neural circuitry underlying other behaviors. Outbred Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were selected and bred for ~. 15 generations for "fast' or "slow" rates of kindling development in response to stimulation of the perforant path input to the hippocampus. After 7-8 generations of selection and breeding, consistent phenotypes of "fast" and "slow" kindling rates were observed. By the 15th generation "fast" kindling rats referred to as Perforant Path Kindling Susceptible (PPKS) rats demonstrated a kindling rate of 10.7. ±. 1.1 afterdischarges (ADs) to the milestone of the first secondary generalized (Class V) seizure, which differed significantly from "slow" kindling Perforant Path Kindling Resistant (PPKR) rats requiring 25.5. ±. 2.0 ADs, and outbred SD rats requiring 16.8. ±. 2.5 ADs (p. <. 0.001, ANOVA). Seizure-naïve adult PPKS and PPKR rats from offspring of this generation and age-matched adult outbred SD rats were compared in validated behavioral measures including the open field test as a measure of exploratory activity, the Morris water maze as a measure of hippocampal spatial memory, and fear conditioning as a behavioral paradigm of associative fear learning. The PPKS ("fast" kindling) strain with increased susceptibility to seizure-induced plasticity demonstrated statistically significant increases in motor exploratory activity in the open field test and reduced spatial learning the Morris water maze, but demonstrated normal fear conditioned learning comparable to outbred SD rats and the "slow" kindling-resistant PPKR strain. These results confirm that selection and breeding on the basis of responses to repeated pathway activation by stimulation can produce enduring modification of genetic background influencing behavior. These observations also suggest that genetic background underlying susceptibility or resistance to seizure-induced plasticity in hippocampal circuitry also differentially influences distinct behaviors and learning that depend on circuitry activated by the kindling selection process, and may have implications for associations between epilepsy, comorbid behavioral conditions, and cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Epilepsy
  • Fear conditioning
  • Genetic background
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Open field
  • Perforant path
  • Seizures
  • Water maze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct behavioral phenotypes in novel "fast" kindling-susceptible and "slow" kindling-resistant rat strains selected by stimulation of the hippocampal perforant path'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this