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February 1972

Penicillin-Induced Segmental Myoclonus: I. Motor Responses and Intracellular Recording From Motoneurons

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine (Drs. Kao and Crill) and physiology and biophysics (Dr. Crill), Division of Neurology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Neurol. 1972;26(2):156-161. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490080074008

The lumbar spinal cord of rats and cats has been used as a model system to study the epileptogenic effects of penicillin. Within a few minutes after the application of penicillin, segmental myoclonus develops. Intracellular recording from cat motoneurons demonstrates that penicillin induces periodic large spontaneously occurring depolarizing synaptic potentials. Either these responses or directly applied intracellular current pulses evoked prolonged depolarization of the motoneuron soma, which represent an alteration in membrane properties of motoneurons. The prolonged depolarization has a threshold for termination by a hyperpolarizing current.

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