Project: Research project

Project Details


We propose to pharmacologically modify seizure length in animals
receiving electroconvulsive stimulation (ECS), a well-characterized
animal analogue of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is an effective
clinical treatment in severe psychiatric illnesses that requires a
seizures for its therapeutic benefit. In ECT, caffeine pretreatment
increases seizure duration and enhances clinical efficacy. However, the
mechanisms by which seizures exert their effects and the neurochemical
consequences of caffeine-augmented seizures have not been studied.

In our initial studies, caffeine lengthened ECS seizures in rats in a
dose-dependent manner. Caffeine had a sustained effect over a series of
daily ECS, augmented the typical ECS-induced decrease in Beta-adrenergic
receptors and prevented the typical ECS-induced increase in 5-HT-2
serotonin receptors.

We propose to study drug-modified ECS to characterize caffeine
augmentation of ECS and test whether increased seizures length determines
the neurochemical consequences of modified seizures. In addition, we
will use more selective drugs and inbred strains of rodents with
differing seizure characteristics to define which pharmacological action
of caffeine is important for the neurochemical change.

An improved understanding of the neurochemistry of electroconvulsive
seizures may allow for improvements in clinical ECT as well as design of
additional psychopharmacological treatments of psychiatric conditions.
Effective start/end date4/1/948/31/97


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health