Pediatric seizures in larval zebrafish
Klodnicki, Susie Ann
MetadataShow full item record
About 55,000 cases of pediatric epilepsy are diagnosed annually. Although there are seizure treatments for adults, there are no known effective treatments for childhood seizures. The reason is not well known and is the cause for our research. Study of neural mechanisms at a young age is necessary to provide knowledge that will allow other researchers to develop more effective drugs for childhood epilepsy. Epileptic episodes are characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures which result from widespread abnormal brain activity with characteristic discharge patterns. The larval zebrafish is a useful organism that allows us to visualize seizures in a developing vertebrate using confocal imaging. These seizures have a similar pattern to that of children. Zebrafish transgenic for a calcium indicator can be used to monitor neural activity induced by chemoconvulsants. In imaging data, action potentials are sensed as calcium changes, and brain images are collected for further analysis. Using computational algebraic methods, individual seizures and neural pathways are detected, estimated and visualized. Prior to 5 days post fertilization (dpf) waves are characterized by short durations (33 sec/wave). After 5 dpf, cyclical wave patterns emerge characterized by a series of short duration waves followed by a single long-duration wave (9 min/wave). These results show that the pattern and duration of seizure-induced neural activity change as a function of brain development. This work provides a better understanding of possible mechanisms involved in pediatric seizures that may lead to improved epilepsy treatment.