In vitro status epilepticus but not spontaneous recurrent seizures cause cell death in cultured hippocampal neurons

Laxmikant S. Deshpande, Jeffrey K. Lou, Ali Mian, Robert E. Blair, Sompong Sombati, Robert J. DeLorenzo

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27 Scopus citations


It is established that the majority but not all of the seizure-induced cell death is associated with status epilepticus while spontaneous recurrent seizures associated with epilepsy do not cause neuronal death. Extracellular effects and compensatory changes in brain physiology complicate assessment of neuronal death in vivo as the result of seizures. In this study we utilized a well-characterized in vitro hippocampal neuronal culture model of both continuous high-frequency epileptiform discharges (status epilepticus) and spontaneous recurrent epileptiform discharges (acquired epilepsy) to investigate the direct effects of continuous and episodic electrographic epileptiform discharges on cell death in a carefully controlled extracellular environment. The results from this study indicate that continuous high-frequency epileptiform discharges can cause neuronal death in a time-dependent manner. Episodic epileptiform seizure activity occurring for the life of the neurons in culture was not associated with increased neuronal cell death. Our data confirm observations from clinical and some animal studies that spontaneous recurrent seizures do not initiate cell death. The hippocampal neuronal culture model provides a powerful in vitro tool for carefully evaluating the effects of seizure activity alone on neuronal viability in the absence of various confounding factors and may provide new insights into the development of novel therapeutic agents to prevent neuronal injury during status epilepticus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Acquired epilepsy
  • Fluorescein diacetate-propidium iodide
  • Hippocampal neuronal cultures
  • Low Mg model of status epilepticus
  • Neuronal death
  • Patch clamp electrophysiology


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