The Tetanus Toxin Model of Chronic Epilepsy

  • Timothy A. Benke
  • John Swann
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 548)


In experimental models of epilepsy, single and recurrent seizures are often used in an attempt to determine the effects of the seizures themselves on mammalian brain function. These models attempt to emulate as many features as possible of their human disease counterparts without many of the confounding factors such as underlying disease processes and medication effects. Numerous models have been used in the past to address different questions. Nevertheless, the basic questions are often the same:
  1. 1.

    Do seizures cause long-term damage?

  2. 2.

    Do seizures predispose to chronic epilepsy (epileptogenesis), that is long-term spontaneous repetitive seizures?

  3. 3.

    Are these results developmentally regulated?

  4. 4.

    Are the underlying mechanisms of epileptogenesis and brain damage related?


In prusuing these questions, the goal is to detemine how seizures exert their effecets and to minimize any side effects from the methods employed to induce the seizures themselves. This requires a detailed characterization of the methods used to induce seizures.

In thes chapter, we will review the literature regarding the tetanus toxin model of chronic epilepsy with regard to its mechanisms of action, clinical comparisons, how it is experimentally implemented and the results obtained thus far. These results will be compared to other models of chronic epilepsy in order to make generalizations about the effects of repetitive seizures in adult and early life. At this time, it apperas that repetitive seizures cause long-term changes in learning ability and may cause a predisposition to chronic seizures at all ages. In younger animals, both features of learning impairment and epilepsy are not typically associated with cell loss as they are in adult animals. At all ages, some form of syaptic reorganization has been demonstrated to occur.


Status Epilepticus Mossy Fiber Febrile Seizure Gaba Release Recurrent Seizure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy A. Benke
  • John Swann

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