Chronic focal epilepsy induced by microinjection of tetanus toxin into the cat motor cortex

Elan D. Louis, Peter D. Williamson, Terrance M. Darcey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The tetanus toxin model of epilepsy, involving direct microinjection of toxin into the mammalian brain, has a number of advantages relative to other chronic models. However, chronicc seizure foci have been confined primarily to the hippocampus. In the present study, 5 cats received total doses of 7.5-22.5 ng of tetanus toxin applied to the left primary motor cortex through an epidural cannula. After 2-18 days, all 5 cats exhibited similar persistent epileptiform syndromes. Three distinct types of spontaneous seizures were noted: focal motor seizures of variable complexity, focal seizures with secondary generalization, and epilepsia partialis continua. All cats required anticonvulsant therapy. Simple focal motor seizures, whi.le predominated, were electrographically characterized by 3-5 Hz spike-sharp wave activity, originating in the left motor cortex, associated with contralateral shoulder and forepaw clonus and jacksonian spread. Electrographic activity quickly spread to ipsilateral neocortical structures, and in longer episodes to the cingulate gyri. Seizure foci were still active as long as 37 days after toxin injection. Light microscopic damage attributable to the toxin was absent. These experiments further generalized the tetanus toxin model and confirmed its advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-557
Number of pages10
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • (Cat)
  • Epilepsy
  • Experimental model
  • Focal epilepsy
  • Motor cortex
  • Tetanus toxin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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