Characterisation of seizure induction methods in Drosophila

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Abstract

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders. Around one third of patients do not respond to current medications. This lack of treatment indicates a need for better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and, importantly, the identification of novel targets for drug manipulation. The fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster has a fast reproduction time, powerful genetics, and facilitates large sample sizes, making it a strong model of seizure mechanisms. To better understand behavioural and physiological phenotypes across major fly seizure genotypes we systematically measured seizure severity and secondary behavioral phenotypes at both the larval and adult stage. Comparison of several seizure-induction methods; specifically electrical, mechanical and heat-induction, show that larval electroshock is the most effective at inducing seizures across a wide range of seizure-prone mutants tested. Locomotion in adults and larvae was found to be non-predictive of seizure susceptibility. Recording activity in identified larval motor neurons revealed variations in action potential patterns, across different genotypes, but these patterns did not correlate with seizure susceptibility. To conclude, while there is wide variation in mechanical induction, heat induction, and secondary phenotypes, electroshock is the most consistent method of seizure induction across known major seizure genotypes in Drosophila.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournaleNeuro
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jun 2021