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Exp Neurol. 2016 Sep;283(Pt A):341-52. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.06.027. Epub 2016 Jun 25.

Role of CA3 theta-modulated interneurons during the transition to spontaneous seizures.

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School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:


Multiple studies have observed heterogeneous neuronal firing patterns as a local network transitions to spontaneous seizures. We demonstrated that separately examining interneurons and pyramidal cells during this transition in a rat model of temporal lobe epilepsy elucidates some of this heterogeneity. Recently, it was demonstrated that classifying cells into specific theta-related subtypes further clarified the heterogeneity. Moreover, changes in neuronal synchrony with the local field potential were identified and determined to be specific to interneurons during the transition to seizures. To extend our understanding of the chronic changes in epileptic networks, we examined field potentials and single neuron activity in the CA3 hippocampus of pilocarpine-treated rats during interictal periods and compared these to neuronal activity in healthy controls and during preictal periods. Neurons were classified into theta-subtypes based on changes in firing patterns during theta periods. As previously reported, we find a high probability of theta oscillations before seizure onset and a selective increase in theta-on interneuron firing rate immediately preceding seizure onset. However, we also find overall slower theta rhythm and a general decrease in subtype-specific firing during interictal periods compared to that in control animals. The decrease in subtype specific interneuron activity is accompanied by increases in synchrony. Exceptionally, theta-on interneurons, that selectively increase their firing rate at seizure onset, maintain similar firing rates and synchrony as controls during interictal period. These data suggest that increased synchrony during interictal periods may compensate for low firing rates creating instability during theta that is prone to seizure initiation via a transition to hyper-synchronous activation of theta-on interneurons.


CA3; Interneurons; Seizures; Theta

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