We previously established two strains of Mongolian gerbil: a seizure-sensitive strain, established by selective inbreeding for motor seizures elicited by a stimulus called the S method and a seizure-resistant strain that does not exhibit inducible seizures. The behavior of the seizure-sensitive strain is characterized by a progressive increase in responsiveness to weekly application of the S method, from repetitive backward ear movements appearing after postnatal day 40, to a full-blown seizure, while the seizure-resistant strain is apparently unaffected by the stimulation. The difference between these two strains is presumably genetic. To determine the genetic factors underlying this difference, we first examined developmental changes in the stimulus-induced behavior of the F1 hybrids. When the S method was applied, most F1 hybrids had repetitive movements of the ears (and head) similar to the seizure-sensitive gerbils, but generalized seizures emerged considerably later than in seizure-sensitive gerbils. These results suggest that a half dose of the gene products involved renders most gerbils susceptible to the stimulus but is insufficient for the rapid accumulation of an as yet undefined change needed to spread the abnormal electrophysiologic activity to elicit generalized seizures.
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