Post-Traumatic Epilepsy and Seizure Susceptibility in Rat Models of Penetrating and Closed-Head Brain Injury

Xi Chun M. Lu*, Jenny Browning, Zhilin Liao, Ying Cao, Weihong Yang, Deborah A. Shear

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) carries a risk of developing post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). Currently, animal models that replicate clinical PTE (delayed spontaneous and recurrent seizures) are limited, which hinders pre-clinical research. In this study, we used two rat models of penetrating ballistic-like brain injury (PBBI) and closed-head injury (CHI) to induce spontaneous seizures and also measure changes in seizure susceptibility. In the PBBI model, two trajectories (frontal and lateral) and two injury severities for each trajectory, were evaluated. In the CHI model, a single projectile impact to the dorsal/lateral region of the head was tested. Continuous video-electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings were collected for 10 days at 1 or 6 month(s) post-injury. After EEG recording, all rats were given a sub-convulsant dose of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ) to challenge the seizure susceptibility. The video-EEG recording did not detect PTE following the PBBI. Only one CHI rat demonstrated persistent and recurrent non-convulsive seizures detected at 6 months post-injury. However, after PTZ challenge, 50-100% of the animals across different TBI groups experienced seizures. Seizure susceptibility increased over time from 1 to 6 months post-injury across the majority of TBI groups. Injury severity effects were not apparent within the PBBI model, but were evident between PBBI and CHI models. These results demonstrated the difficulties in detecting delayed spontaneous post-traumatic seizures even in a high-risk model of penetrating brain injury. The PTZ-induced increase in seizure susceptibility indicated the existence of vulnerable risk of epileptogenesis following TBI, which may be considered as an alternative research tool for pre-clinical studies of PTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-247
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • PTE
  • PTZ
  • closed-head brain injury
  • penetrating brain injury
  • seizure susceptibility


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