Development and pharmacologic characterization of the rat 6 Hz model of partial seizures



The mouse 6 Hz model of psychomotor seizures is a well-established and commonly used preclinical model for antiseizure drug (ASD) discovery. Despite its widespread use both in the identification and differentiation of novel ASDs in mice, a corresponding assay in rats has not been developed. We established a method for 6 Hz seizure induction in rats, with seizure behaviors similar to those observed in mice including head nod, jaw clonus, and forelimb clonus.


A convulsive current that elicits these seizure behaviors in 97% of rats (CC97) was determined using a Probit analysis. Numerous prototype ASDs were evaluated in this model using stimulus intensities of 1.5× and 2× the CC97, which is comparable to the approach used in the mouse 6 Hz seizure model (e.g., 32 and 44 mA stimulus intensities). The ASDs evaluated include carbamazepine, clobazam, clonazepam, eslicarbazepine, ethosuximide, ezogabine, gabapentin, lacosamide, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rufinamide, tiagabine, topiramate, and sodium valproate. Median effective dose (ED50) and median toxic (motor impairment) dose (TD50) values were obtained for each compound.


Compounds that were effective at the 1.5 × CC97 stimulus intensity at protective index (PI) values >1 included clobazam, ethosuximide, ezogabine, levetiracetam, phenobarbital, and sodium valproate. Compounds that were effective at the 2 × CC97 stimulus intensity at PI values >1 included ezogabine, phenobarbital, and sodium valproate.


In a manner similar to the use of the mouse 6 Hz model, development of a rat 6 Hz test will aid in the differentiation of ASDs, as well as in study design and dose selection for chronic rat models of pharmacoresistant epilepsy. The limited number of established ASDs with demonstrable efficacy at the higher stimulus intensity suggests that, like the mouse 6 Hz 44 mA model, the rat 6 Hz seizure model may be a useful screening tool for pharmacoresistant seizures.