Electroclinical phenotypes in a pedigreed baboon colony

C. ákos Szabó, Koyle D. Knape, M. Michelle Leland, Jeff T. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This is the first large-scale epidemiological study evaluating the prevalence of interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) and photosensitivity (PS) recorded by scalp EEG in a natural nonhuman-primate model of photosensitive, generalized epilepsy. Scalp EEG was used to characterize electroclinical phenotypes in a large baboon pedigree housed at the Southwest National Primate Research Center at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) based upon IEDs and photosensitivity. Scalp EEG studies including intermittent light stimulation (ILS) were performed in 671 baboons. Clinical histories were available for 531 (79%) of the animals. The EEG studies lasted 53 (±11). min, during which the baboons were lightly sedated with intramuscular ketamine doses of 5.6 (±0.8). mg. The animals were further classified according to electroclinical phenotypes recorded by scalp EEG: presence or absence of IEDs, seizures and photoparoxysmal or photoconvulsive responses. Effects of age, gender, and species on EEG phenotypes were compared using (Chi-square, two-sided, α<. 0.05). Sensitivity and specificity of IEDs and photosensitivity to detect a history of seizures was calculated. Generalized IEDs and photosensitivity were identified in 324 (49%) and 156 (23%) pedigreed baboons, respectively. Only photosensitivity was associated with gender, significantly increased in males. Otherwise, while IEDs were marginally more prevalent among males, there were no other significant associations of IEDs or photosensitivity with age or subspecies. Photosensitivity was significantly associated with IEDs, with demonstrating a possible association with gender and subspecies. Of 531 baboons with histories of clinical events, 91 (17%) had witnessed seizures and 269 (51%) were asymptomatic. IEDs demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of 62% and 57%, and photosensitivity of 40% and 83%, for prediction of seizures, respectively. While these EEG findings mirror the high prevalence of seizures in the colony, the sensitivity and specificity of scalp EEG may have been affected by ketamine's ability to lower the threshold for IEDs and seizures, particularly in animals predisposed to epilepsy. Photosensitivity provides a specific biological marker for epilepsy in future epidemiological, genetic, behavioral and histopathological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Animal models
  • Baboon
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Photosensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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