Substantia Nigra-Mediated Control of Generalized Seizures

  • S. L. Moshé
  • E. F. Sperber


The notion that the basal ganglia participate in the expression of seizures is long-standing; however, earlier studies focused on striatal-thalamocortical interactions (Jung, 1949; Fariello, 1976; La Grutta et al., 1971; Mutani, 1969). Over the past few years, evidence has accumulated that the substantia nigra (SN) may be an important site to study because it may be involved in seizure control. In 1974, Wada and Sato reported that, during kindled seizures, the electrical activity propagates in the SN bilaterally. Four years later, while studying the anatomical substrates of kindling using the [14C]-2-deoxyglucose technique, Engel et al. (1978) noted that there were striking increases in the metabolic activity of the SN during generalized seizures in adult rats. These investigators postulated that the SN may play an active role in seizures, perhaps mitigating the anticonvulsant effects of the striatum (La Grutta et al., 1971). Subsequently, increases in the metabolic activity of the SN were observed in other animal models of epilepsy (Ben Ari et al., 1981; Lothman and Collins, 1981), in particular when animals experienced generalized seizures. These observations remained unexplored until Iadarola and Gale (1982) reported that pharmacological treatments that increase the GABA transmission of the SN can suppress a variety of experimentally induced seizures in adult rats. At about the same time, we determined that the metabolic changes that occur in the SN during seizures are age-dependent (Ackermann et al., 1982).


Substantia Nigra GABAA Receptor Superior Colliculus Kainic Acid GABAB Receptor 
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© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. L. Moshé
  • E. F. Sperber

There are no affiliations available

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