Genetic epilepsy model derived from common inbred mouse strains.
W N Frankel, B A Taylor, J L Noebels, C M Lutz

Abstract

The recombinant inbred mouse strain, SWXL-4, exhibits tonic-clonic and generalized seizures similar to the commonest epilepsies in humans. In SWXL-4 animals, seizures are observed following routine handling at about 80 days of age and may be induced as early as 55 days by rhythmic gentle tossing. Seizures are accompanied by rapid, bilateral high frequency spike cortical discharges and followed by a quiescent post-ictal phase. Immunohistochemistry of the immediate early gene products c-Fos and c-Jun revealed abnormal activation within cortical and limbic structures. The seizure phenotype of SWXL-4 can be explained and replicated fully by the inheritance of susceptibility alleles from its progenitor strains, SWR/J and C57L/J. Outcrosses of SWXL-4 with most other common inbred strains result in F1 hybrids that have seizure at least as frequently as SWXL-4 itself. Quantitative trait locus mapping reveals a seizure frequency determinant, Szf1, near the pink-eyed dilution locus on chromosome 7, accounting for up to 32% of the genetic variance in an F2 intercross between SWXL-4 and the linkage testing strain ABP/Le. These studies demonstrate that common strains of mice such as SWR and C57L contain latent epilepsy susceptibility alleles. Although the inheritance of susceptibility may be complex, these results imply that a number of potentially important and practical, noninvasive models for this disorder can be constructed and studied in crosses between common mouse strains.