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Trends Neurosci. 2000 Feb;23(2):68-74.

Gap junctions, synchrony and seizures.

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  • 1Playfair Neuroscience Unit, Bloorview Epilepsy Programme, Depts of Medicine (Neurology) and Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8.


The old concept that the direct intercellular cytoplasmic connections between neurones participate in the coordination of neuronal activity has gained new relevance, owing to recent theoretical and experimental evidence, particularly with regard to neuronal synchronization and epileptogenesis. Computer simulations demonstrating that neurones synchronize and alter their firing patterns depending on gap-junctional communication, have provided insights into the interactions between electrotonic coupling and cellular and synaptic characteristics. Experimental manipulations of gap-junctional communication support its role in the generation and maintenance of synchronized neuronal firing and seizures. Hence, in addition to chemical transmission, direct electrotonic coupling might contribute to normal and abnormal physiological brain rhythms.

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