Characterization of Phenytoin-Resistant Kindled Rats, a New Model of Drug-Resistant Partial Epilepsy: Comparison of Inbred Strains

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Previous work from our laboratory showed that amygdala-kindled Wistar outbred rats can be selected according to the increase of afterdischarge threshold (ADT) after phenytoin application. Animals that consistently do not respond to phenytoin (PHT) with an ADT increase (non-responders) are the first animal model of pharmacoresistant complex partial seizures. In this study, we determined the ability to respond to PHT in male kindled rats of different inbred strains.


The experiments were performed in fully kindled rats of five different inbred strains, Wistar-Kyoto, Lewis, Fischer 344, ACI, and Brown Norway. The response type of each rat was revealed by four consecutive PHT applications (75 mg/kg, i.p.) in fully kindled rats.


PHT application resulted in plasma concentrations ranging from some 16 μg/ml in Lewis rats to 35 μg/ml in Fischer 344 rats, and in slight ataxia, most strongly in Fischer 344 rats. The rats of each strain did not show a homogeneous response to PHT. A significant increase of ADT was found after 86-97% of applications in Lewis, Wistar-Kyoto, and Fischer 344 rats. In contrast, Brown Norway rats responded in only 34% of experiments. This led to a considerable number of responders (i.e., consistent ADT increase by >20%) in Fischer 344, Wistar-Kyoto, and Lewis rats. The only strain revealing nonresponders (i.e., consistent lack of ADT increase by >20% with PHT treatment) was Brown Norway.


Inbred strains, although genetically more homogenous than outbred strains, differ in their response to PHT. Brown Norway rats can offer advantages for further detailed investigation of the resistance to PHT in the kindling model of complex partial seizures.

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