Experimental Epilepsy [Prog. in Brain Research Vol 19] by A. Kreindler

By A. Kreindler

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These facts suggest that at least two factors are necessary for the triggering of a strychnine- and metrazol-induced paroxysm : (a) dendritic synapse inactivation; (b) partial block of particular cortical inhibitory mechanisms that is still overcome intermittently. Electrical silence periods are thus originated (Purpura and Grundfest, 1957b). High-frequency stimulation of the reticular formation inhibits the cortical dendritic activity evoked by surface stimuli. This inhibition persists a few seconds following cessation of stimulation, and is still more enhanced by topical application of strychnine in a concentration sufficient to produce the intermittent spike-discharge (Purpura and Grundfest, 1957b).

When the number of discharges increases, with the aid of pharmacological substances, then the lax coupling constantly passes into a rigid coupling. In general, the unit that fires more frequently exercises a ‘magnetic’ effect on those that fire more seldom. The 44 THE EXPERIMENTAL EPILEPTOGENIC FOCUS synchronized unit may, in compliance with its own tendency to discharge, fire immediately before or after the synchronizing unit. During the 30 msec before or after discharge of a rhythmic unit, tbe tendency to discharge increases in a surrounding area that comprises a number of neighbouring cells.

1 ) Application of strychnine on the cortex increases its excitability. The potential evoked at the level of the sensory cortex is greater over the strychnine-treated area, because the number of cells discharging synchronously to an afferent impulse stimulation is much greater. If strychnine is maintained on the cortex for a longer period of time, then spontaneous discharges, called strychnine spikes, appear. At first, the strychnine spike is monophasic and sometimes readily biphasic, lasting 5-10 msec.

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