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J Neurosci. 2015 Apr 22;35(16):6600-18. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4786-14.2015.

Unit Activity of Hippocampal Interneurons before Spontaneous Seizures in an Animal Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.

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Departments of Comparative Medicine and.
Departments of Comparative Medicine and Department of Pharmacology, Nihon University School of Dentistry, Tokyo 101-8310, Japan.
Departments of Comparative Medicine and Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, and


Mechanisms of seizure initiation are unclear. To evaluate the possible roles of inhibitory neurons, unit recordings were obtained in the dentate gyrus, CA3, CA1, and subiculum of epileptic pilocarpine-treated rats as they experienced spontaneous seizures. Most interneurons in the dentate gyrus, CA1, and subiculum increased their firing rate before seizures, and did so with significant consistency from seizure to seizure. Identification of CA1 interneuron subtypes based on firing characteristics during theta and sharp waves suggested that a parvalbumin-positive basket cell and putative bistratified cells, but not oriens lacunosum moleculare cells, were activated preictally. Preictal changes occurred much earlier than those described by most previous in vitro studies. Preictal activation of interneurons began earliest (>4 min before seizure onset), increased most, was most prevalent in the subiculum, and was minimal in CA3. Preictal inactivation of interneurons was most common in CA1 (27% of interneurons) and included a putative ivy cell and parvalbumin-positive basket cell. Increased or decreased preictal activity correlated with whether interneurons fired faster or slower, respectively, during theta activity. Theta waves were more likely to occur before seizure onset, and increased preictal firing of subicular interneurons correlated with theta activity. Preictal changes by other hippocampal interneurons were largely independent of theta waves. Within seconds of seizure onset, many interneurons displayed a brief pause in firing and a later, longer drop that was associated with reduced action potential amplitude. These findings suggest that many interneurons inactivate during seizures, most increase their activity preictally, but some fail to do so at the critical time before seizure onset.


CA1; CA3; dentate gyrus; local field potential; subiculum; theta

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