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J Physiol. 2018 Jun;596(11):2251-2266. doi: 10.1113/JP275871. Epub 2018 Apr 25.

Initiation and slow propagation of epileptiform activity from ventral to dorsal medial entorhinal cortex is constrained by an inhibitory gradient.

Author information

1
Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Exeter Medical School, Hatherly Laboratories, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4PS, UK.
2
Eli Lilly UK, Erl Wood Manor, Windlesham, Surrey GU20 6PH, UK.

Abstract

KEY POINTS:

The medial entorhinal cortex (mEC) has an important role in initiation and propagation of seizure activity. Several anatomical relationships exist in neurophysiological properties of mEC neurons; however, in the context of hyperexcitability, previous studies often considered it as a homogeneous structure. Using multi-site extracellular recording techniques, ictal-like activity was observed along the dorso-ventral axis of the mEC in vitro in response to various ictogenic stimuli. This originated predominantly from ventral areas, spreading to dorsal mEC with a surprisingly slow velocity. Modulation of inhibitory tone was capable of changing the slope of ictal initiation, suggesting seizure propagation behaviours are highly dependent on levels of GABAergic function in this region. A distinct disinhibition model also showed, in the absence of inhibition, a prevalence for interictal-like initiation in ventral mEC, reflecting the intrinsic differences in mEC neurons. These findings suggest the ventral mEC is more prone to hyperexcitable discharge than the dorsal mEC, which may be relevant under pathological conditions.

ABSTRACT:

The medial entorhinal cortex (mEC) has an important role in the generation and propagation of seizure activity. The organization of the mEC is such that a number of dorso-ventral relationships exist in neurophysiological properties of neurons. These range from intrinsic and synaptic properties to density of inhibitory connectivity. We examined the influence of these gradients on generation and propagation of epileptiform activity in the mEC. Using a 16-shank silicon probe array to record along the dorso-ventral axis of the mEC in vitro, we found 4-aminopyridine application produces ictal-like activity originating predominantly in ventral areas. This activity spreads to dorsal mEC at a surprisingly slow velocity (138 μm s-1 ), while cross-site interictal-like activity appeared relatively synchronous. We propose that ictal propagation is constrained by differential levels of GABAergic control since increasing (diazepam) or decreasing (Ro19-4603) GABAA receptor activation, respectively, reduced or increased the slope of ictal initiation. The observation that ictal activity is predominately generated in ventral mEC was replicated using a separate 0-Mg2+ model of epileptiform activity in vitro. By using a distinct disinhibition model (co-application of kainate and picrotoxin) we show that additional physiological features (for example intrinsic properties of mEC neurons) still produce a prevalence for interictal-like initiation in ventral mEC. These findings suggest that the ventral mEC is more likely to initiate hyperexcitable discharges than the dorsal mEC, and that seizure propagation is highly dependent on levels of GABAergic expression across the mEC.

KEYWORDS:

dorsal-Ventral gradient; entorhinal cortex; hyperexcitability

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