Long-term enhancement of entorhinal-dentate evoked potentials following `modified' ECS in the rat Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is widely used as a treatment for drug-resistant depression. The animal analogue of ECT is electroconvulsive shock (ECS) seizures. We have recently shown that repeated ECS seizures cause a long-lasting, perhaps permanent, enhancement in entorhinal-dentate evoked potentials in the rat. Our study, however, involved 'unmodified' ECS, whereas in clinical practice ECT is now usually given in its 'modified' form (with near-threshold currents, a short-acting barbiturate, muscle relaxant and oxygen). We have therefore repeated our experiments using modified ECS. Entorhinal-dentate evoked potentials were measured in Long-Evans rats before and after: (1) eight modified ECS seizures; or (2) eight sham modified ECS trials. Despite the use of the modified procedure, a significant and long-lasting enhancement in population spike amplitude was seen in the ECS group. We conclude that the modified procedure does not protect rats against the long-lasting enhancement of evoked potentials. Similar changes may be occurring in the brains of patients subjected to modified ECT.


  • Gombos, Zoltan
  • Mendonça, Antonio
  • Racine, Ronald Jay
  • Cottrell, Georgia A
  • Burnham, W McIntyre

publication date

  • August 1997