Convulsive seizures and some behavioral comorbidities are uncoupled in the Scn1aA1783V Dravet syndrome mouse model

Saja Fadila, Shir Quinn, Ana Turchetti Maia, Daniel Yakubovich, Mor Ovadia, Karen L. Anderson, Moshe Giladi, Moran Rubinstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Dravet syndrome (Dravet) is a severe childhood epileptic encephalopathy. The disease begins with a febrile stage, characterized by febrile seizures with otherwise normal development. Progression to the worsening stage features recurrent intractable seizures and the presentation of additional nonepileptic comorbidities, including global developmental delay, hyperactivity, and motor deficits. Later in life, at the stabilization stage, seizure burden decreases, whereas Dravet-associated comorbidities persist. To date, it remains debated whether the nonepileptic comorbidities result from severe epilepsy or represent an independent phenotypic feature. Methods: Dravet mice (DS) faithfully recapitulate many clinical aspects of Dravet. Using wild-type (WT) and DS at different ages, we monitored multiple behavioral features as well as background electroencephalogram (EEG) activity during the different stages of Dravet epilepsy. Results: Behavioral tests of WT and DS demonstrated that some deficits manifest already at the pre-epileptic stage, prior to the onset of convulsive seizures. These include motor impairment and hyperactivity in the open field. Deficits in cognitive functions were detected at the onset of severe spontaneous seizures. Power spectral analysis of background EEG activity, measured through development, showed that DS exhibit normal background oscillations at the pre-epileptic stage, a marked reduction in total power during the onset of severe epilepsy, and a subsequent smaller reduction later in life. Importantly, low EEG power at the stage of severe frequent convulsive seizures correlated with increased risk for premature death. Significance: Our data provide a comprehensive developmental trajectory of Dravet epilepsy and Dravet-associated comorbidities in mice, under controlled settings, demonstrating that the convulsive seizures and some nonepileptic comorbidities may be uncoupled. Moreover, we report the existence of an inverse correlation, on average, between the power of background EEG and the severity of epileptic phenotypes, suggesting that such measurements may potentially serve as a biomarker for Dravet severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2289-2300
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


FundersFunder number
Aya Baharav Fund for Medical Research
J?r?me Lejeune Foundation
V. Schreiber Research Fund
Fondation Jérôme Lejeune1565 ‐ 2016b
Fritz Thyssen Stiftung10.17.1.023MN
Israel Science Foundation1454/17
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University


    • Dravet syndrome
    • background EEG
    • hyperactivity
    • motor impairment
    • power spectral density


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