Propagation of Seizure-like Activity in a Model of Neocortex


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Abstract

Summary:Seizures in pediatric epilepsy are often associated with spreading, repetitive bursting activity in neocortex. The authors examined onset and propagation of seizure-like activity using a computational model of cortical circuitry. The model includes two pyramidal cell types and four types of inhibitory interneurons. Each neuron is represented by a multicompartmental model with biophysically realistic ion channels. The authors determined the role of bursting neurons and found that their capability of driving network oscillations is most prominent in networks with either weak or relatively strong excitatory synaptic coupling. Synaptic coupling strength was varied in a separate set of simulations to examine its role in network bursting. Oscillations both between cortical layers (vertical oscillations) and between cortical areas (horizontal oscillations) emerge at moderate excitatory coupling strengths. For horizontal propagation, existence of a fast-conducting fiber system and its properties are critical. Seizure-like oscillatory activity may originate from single neurons or small networks, and that activity may propagate in two principal fashions: one that can be represented by a unidirectional (pacemaker)-type process and the other as multi- or bidirectional propagating waves. The frequency of the bursting patterns relates to underlying propagating activity that can either sustain or disrupt the ongoing oscillation.

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