Comparative profile of refractory status epilepticus models following exposure of cholinergic agents pilocarpine, DFP, and soman. Academic Article uri icon


  • Status epilepticus (SE) is a medical emergency with continuous seizure activity that causes profound neuronal damage, morbidity, or death. SE incidents can arise spontaneously but mostly are elicited by seizurogenic triggers. Chemoconvulsants such as the muscarinic agonist pilocarpine and, organophosphates (OP) such as the pesticide diisopropylfluorophosphate (DFP) and, the nerve agent soman, can induce SE. Pilocarpine, DFP, and soman share a common feature of cholinergic crisis that transitions into a state of refractory SE, but their comparative profiles remain unclear. Here, we evaluated the comparative convulsant profile of pilocarpine, DFP, and soman to produce refractory SE and brain damage in rats. Behavioral and electrographic seizures were monitored for 24h after exposure, and the extent of brain injury was determined by histological markers of neuronal injury and degeneration. Seizures were elicited rather slowly after pilocarpine as compared to DFP or soman, which caused rapid onset of spiking that swiftly developed into persistent SE. Time-course of SE activity after DFP was comparable to that after soman, a potent nerve agent. Diazepam controlled pilocarpine-induced SE, but it was ineffective in reducing OP-induced SE. All three agents produced modestly different degrees of neuronal injury and neurodegeneration in the brain. These results reveal distinct convulsant and neuronal injury patterns following exposure to cholinergic agonists, OP pesticides, and nerve agents. A battery of SE models, especially SE induced by cholinergic agents and other etiologies including epilepsy and brain tumors, is essential to identify novel anticonvulsant therapies for the management of refractory SE.

published proceedings

  • Neuropharmacology

altmetric score

  • 7

author list (cited authors)

  • Reddy, D. S., Zaayman, M., Kuruba, R., & Wu, X.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Reddy, Doodipala Samba||Zaayman, Marcus||Kuruba, Ramkumar||Wu, Xin

publication date

  • June 2021