Effects of seizures on brain development

The immature brain is exceptionally susceptible to seizures, and in the majority of individuals who develop epilepsy, the onset of spontaneous seizures occurs during childhood. However, it remains unclear whether early-life seizures affect critical processes of activity-dependent brain circuit formation. In order to address this question, we have developed a seizure model in albino Xenopus laevis tadpoles that allows direct in vivo imaging of brain neuronal activity and growth during critical period events of neurogenesis, dendritogenesis, axonogenesis, and synaptogenesis. We find effects of experimentally-induced early-life seizures on neuronal growth that we attribute to over-activation of intrinsic plasticity mechanisms.