Interictal oscillations and focal epileptic disorders.

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Neuronal network oscillations represent a main feature of the brain activity recorded in the EEG under normal and pathological conditions such as epilepsy. Specific oscillations occur between seizures in patients and in animal models of focal epilepsy, and thus, they are termed interictal. According to their shape and intrinsic signal frequency, interictal oscillations are classified as spikes and high-frequency oscillations (HFOs). Interictal spikes are recorded in the 'wideband' EEG signal and consist of large-amplitude events that usually last less than 1 s; HFOs, in contrast, are extracted by amplifying the appropriately filtered EEG signal and are usually categorized as ripples (80-200 Hz) and fast ripples (250-500 Hz). Interictal spikes and HFOs are used in clinical practice to localize the seizure onset zone in focal epileptic disorders, which is fundamental for performing successful surgical interventions in epileptic patients not responding to anti-epileptic drug therapy. Both types of interictal oscillations have been widely studied in animal models of focal epilepsy to identify the mechanisms underlying their generation as well as to establish their role in ictogenesis and epileptogenesis. In this review, we will address the cellular mechanisms underlying the generation of interictal spikes and HFOs in animal models of epileptiform synchronization and of focal epilepsy. Moreover, we will highlight in vitro and in vivo evidence indicating that these interictal oscillations mirror specific, dynamic changes in neuronal network excitability causing seizure generation (i.e. ictogenesis) and leading to a chronic epileptic condition (i.e. epileptogenesis).

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