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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1376. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2376.

On-demand optogenetic control of spontaneous seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California, Irvine, California 92697-1280, USA.


Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy in adults, is often medically refractory, and due to broad actions and long-time scales, current systemic treatments have major negative side-effects. However, temporal lobe seizures tend to arise from discrete regions before overt clinical behaviour, making temporally and spatially specific treatment theoretically possible. Here we report the arrest of spontaneous seizures using a real-time, closed-loop, response system and in vivo optogenetics in a mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy. Either optogenetic inhibition of excitatory principal cells, or activation of a subpopulation of GABAergic cells representing <5% of hippocampal neurons, stops seizures rapidly upon light application. These results demonstrate that spontaneous temporal lobe seizures can be detected and terminated by modulating specific cell populations in a spatially restricted manner. A clinical approach built on these principles may overcome many of the side-effects of currently available treatment options.

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