Developmental PCB exposure impairs hearing and induces brainstem audiogenic seizures in adult offspring. The degree to which this enhanced susceptibility to seizure is manifest in other brain regions has not been examined. Thus, electrical kindling of the amygdala was used to evaluate the effect of developmental exposure to an environmentally relevant PCB mixture on seizure susceptibility in the rat. Female Long-Evans rats were dosed orally with 0 or 6 mg/kg/day of the PCB mixture dissolved in corn oil vehicle 4 weeks prior to mating and continued through gestation and up until postnatal day (PND) 21. On PND 21, pups were weaned, and two males from each litter were randomly selected for the kindling study. As adults, the male rats were implanted bilaterally with electrodes in the basolateral amygdala. For each animal, afterdischarge (AD) thresholds in the amygdala were determined on the first day of testing followed by once daily stimulation at a standard 200 μA stimulus intensity until three stage 5 generalized seizures (GS) ensued. Developmental PCB exposure did not affect the AD threshold or total cumulative AD duration, but PCB exposure did increase the latency to behavioral manifestations of seizure propagation. PCB exposed animals required significantly more stimulations to reach stage 2 seizures compared to control animals, indicating attenuated focal (amygdala) excitability. A delay in kindling progression in the amygdala stands in contrast to our previous finding of increased susceptibility to brainstem-mediated audiogenic seizures in PCB-exposed animals in response to a an intense auditory stimulus. These seemingly divergent results are not unexpected given the distinct source, type, and mechanistic underpinnings of these different seizure models. A delay in epileptogenesis following focal amygdala stimulation may reflect a decrease in neuroplasticity following developmental PCB exposure consistent with reductions in use-dependent synaptic plasticity that have been reported in the hippocampus of developmentally PCB exposed animals.
- Amygdala kindling
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