J Vis Exp. 2020:e58837. doi:10.3791/58837
Epilepsy represents one of the most common neurological disorders, affecting an estimated 50 million people worldwide. Recent advances in genetic research have uncovered a large spectrum of genes implicated in various forms of epilepsy, highlighting the heterogeneous nature of this disorder. Appropriate animal models are essential for investigating the pathological mechanisms triggered by genetic mutations implicated in epilepsy and for developing specialized, targeted therapies. In recent years, zebrafish has emerged as a valuable vertebrate organism for modeling epilepsies, with the use of both genetic manipulation and exposure to known epileptogenic drugs, such as pentylenetetrazole (PTZ),to identify novel anti-epileptic therapeutics. Deleterious mutations in the mTOR regulator DEPDC5 have been associated with various forms of focal epilepsies and knock-down of the zebrafish orthologue causes hyperactivity associated with spontaneous seizure-like episodes, as well as enhanced electrographic activity and characteristic turn wheel swimming. Here, we described the method involved in generating the DEPDC5 loss-of-function model and illustrate the protocol for assessing motor activity at 28 and 48 h post fertilization (hpf), as well as a method for recording field activity in the zebrafish optic tectum. An illustration of the effect of the epileptogenic drug PTZ on neuronal activity over time is also provided.
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