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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997 May;75(5):500-7.

Chronic focal neocortical epileptogenesis: does disinhibition play a role?

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Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, CA 94305-5300, USA.


Several lines of evidence have suggested that decreases in postsynaptic inhibition may have a role in epileptogenesis in cortical structures. However, other studies have suggested that GABAergic inhibition is spared, or even augmented in some forms of post-lesional epilepsy. In the studies described here, inhibitory events were recorded in two models of post-lesional chronic epileptogenesis. (i) As previously reported (D.A. Prince and G.-F. Tseng. J. Neurophysiol. 69: 1276-1291. 1993), epileptiform activity develops in slices from partially isolated rat neocortical islands 2-3 weeks after the initial in vivo lesion. In this model of post-traumatic epilepsy, large amplitude polyphasic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) in layer V pyramidal neurons are associated with each interictal epileptiform field potential. The frequency of spontaneous IPSCs as well as miniature IPSCs was significantly increased in neocortical slices from the epileptogenic chronically injured cortex versus controls. Immunocytochemical reactions for parvalbumin and calbindin, calcium binding proteins present in subgroups of GABAergic neurons, showed an increased staining of both neuropil and somata within the epileptogenic tissue. Immunoreactivity for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and GABA also appeared to be increased in the neuropil. (ii) Cortical microgyri resembling human malformations were produced by freeze lesions made transcranially in P0 rat cortex (K.M. Jacobs, M.J. Gutnick, and D.A. Prince. Cereb. Cortex, 6: 514-523. 1996). The boundary between the four-layered microgyrus and surrounding cortex become epileptogenic within about 2 weeks, as judged by evoked extracellular field potentials and cellular activities. Epileptogenesis in the surrounding cortex is not altered when the microgyrus itself is isolated by transcortical cuts. Patch-clamp recordings from layer V neurons in the epileptogenic zone showed that spontaneous IPSCs are larger and more dependent on glutamatergic synapses than in control neurons. The amplitudes of polysynaptic IPSCs evoked by threshold stimulation were also larger than in control cells. Although evaluation of inhibitory events in these models is still incomplete, results to date suggest that GABAergic inhibition may be enhanced in epileptogenic areas associated with chronic cortical injury. Sprouting of axonal arborizations of pyramidal cells onto interneurons, upregulation of GABAergic neurons, and perhaps sprouting of inhibitory axons that make increased numbers of contacts onto pyramidal cells may all contribute to the increased inhibitory drive. Results in these models do not support the disinhibitory hypothesis of chronic epileptogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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