We have previously shown that hypoxia induces both acute and chronic epileptogenic effects that are age dependent. Global hypoxia (3-4% O2) induces seizure activity in the developing brain [postnatal day (P)10-12] but not at younger or older ages. Adult rats with prior seizures induced by hypoxia at P10 show increase seizure susceptibility to chemical convulsants compared with controls. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that acute and chronic epileptogenic effects of hypoxia are demonstrable in hippocampus both in vivo and in vitro. Depth electrode recordings confirmed the presence of ictal activity within hippocampus in P10 rats during global hypoxia. Hippocampal slices prepared from P10 pups killed at 10 min after recovery from hypoxia showed evidence of increased excitability. Extracellular field recordings revealed that the amplitude and duration of long-term potentiation (LTP) was increased significantly in area CA1 of hippocampal slices removed from hypoxic pups. In addition, extracellular recordings within areas CA1 and CA3 showed significantly longer afterdischarge durations in response to kindling stimuli in slices from hypoxic pups compared with controls. To evaluate whether there were also long-term changes in hippocampal excitability, hippocampal slices were prepared from adult rats that had underwent hypoxia at P10 and compared with slices from adult litter-mate controls. A Mg2+-free medium was superfused to induce epileptiform activity within the slices. Extracellular recordings from stratum pyramidale of area CA1 showed that Mg2+-free media induced significantly more frequent ictal discharges in slices from previously hypoxic rats compared with controls. These results provide evidence that the naturally occurring stimulus of hypoxia can result in both acute and chronic changes in the excitability of the CA1 neuronal network. These results parallel our previous in vivo studies demonstrating that global hypoxia acutely increases excitability in the immature brain and that hypoxia during the age window ~P10 results in long-lasting increases in seizure susceptibility within hippocampus. Our results suggest that the age-dependent epileptogenic effects of hypoxia are in part mediated by a direct and permanent effect on neuronal excitability within hippocampal neuronal networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas