Alumina gel injections into the temporal lobe of rhesus monkeys cause complex partial seizures and morphological changes found in human temporal lobe epilepsy

Charles E. Ribak, László Seress, Peter Weber, Charles M. Epstein, Thomas R. Henry, Roy A.E. Bakay

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The goal of the present study was to determine whether alumina gel injections into temporal lobe structures cause complex partial seizures (CPS) and pathological changes observed in human temporal lobe epilepsy. Rhesus monkeys with alumina gel injections in the amygdala, perirhinal and entorhinal cortices, or Ammon's horn and dentate gyrus all initially displayed focal pathological electroencephalographic (EEG) slowing limited to the site of injection. After clinical seizures developed, they also displayed widespread pathological EEG slowing over both hemispheres, interictal and ictal epileptiform EEG abnormalities limited to the mesial-inferior temporal lobe on the side of injection, and different degrees of spread to other ipsilateral and contralateral structures. Noninjected control and nonepileptic monkeys with injections into the middle and inferior temporal gyri displayed no hippocampal neuronal loss or mossy fiber sprouting. When alumina gel was injected into the amygdala, CPS began within 3-6 weeks and degeneration of neurons and gliosis occurred in the perirhinal cortex or the hippocampus, with consequent sprouting of mossy fibers in the dentate gyrus. Dispersion of the granule cell layer was also observed. Other monkeys with alumina gel in the perirhinal and entorhinal cortices developed CPS within 2- 3 weeks after the injections and displayed mossy fiber sprouting only after 4 weeks after the injections. Alumina gel in Ammon's horn and the dentate gyrus also induced CPS, but mossy fiber sprouting was limited to sites immediately adjacent to the injection, probably because none survived more than 4 weeks after the injections. This nonhuman primate model of CPS displayed similar anatomical, behavioral, and EEG features as observed in human temporal lobe epilepsy and provides opportunities to analyze the chronological sequence of epileptogenesis and to test potential therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-290
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 16 1998



  • Amygdala
  • Entorhinal cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Mossy fibers
  • Timm's staining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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