Epilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by repeated seizures resulting from abnormal activation of neurons in the brain. Although mutations in genes related to Na+, K+, Ca2+ channels have been defined, few studies show intracellular protein changes. We have used proteomics to investigate the expression of soluble proteins in a genetic rat model of absence epilepsy "Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg (GAERS)". The advantage of this technique is its high throughput quantitative and qualitative detection of all proteins with their post-translational modifications at a given time. The parietal cortex and thalamus, which are the regions responsible for the generation of absence seizures, and the hippocampus, which is not involved in this activity, were dissected from GAERS and from non-epileptic control rat brains. Proteins from each tissue sample were isolated and separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Spots that showed significantly different levels of expression between controls and GAERS were identified by nano LC-ESI-MS/MS. Identified proteins were: ATP synthase subunit delta and the 14-3-3 zeta isoform in parietal cortex; myelin basic protein and macrophage migration inhibitory factor in thalamus; and macrophage migration inhibitory factor and 0-beta 2 globulin in hippocampus. All protein expressions were up-regulated in GAERS except 0-beta globulin. These soluble proteins are related to energy generation, signal transduction, inflammatory processes and membrane conductance. These results indicate that not only membrane proteins but also cytoplasmic proteins may take place in the pathophysiology and can be therapeutic targets in absence epilepsy. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.