Epileptogenic Cerebral Electrical Activity and Serotonin Levels

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Science  24 Nov 1961:
Vol. 134, Issue 3491, pp. 1688-1690
DOI: 10.1126/science.134.3491.1688


Chronically epileptic cats and monkeys showed marked activation of paroxysmal electrographic abnormalities both in the original focus and in a number of structures with secondarily altered functional states after intraperitoneal injection of the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (10 to 25 mg/kg) plus vitamin B6. Much less 5-hydroxytryptophan was required to produce such epileptogenic activation if the animals had previously been treated with Marsilid, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Marked paroxysmal activity in epileptic animals was also produced by injection of Marsilid alone or of Marsilid in combination with reserpine. Since all of the activating agents used have been shown by others to elevate brain serotonin levels, the epileptogenic activation may be correlated with such high levels. Since the effects were at least partially blocked by atropine, such "serotonin-induced" activation may possibly involve some cholinergic mechanism.