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J Neurophysiol. 1998 Sep;80(3):1480-94.

Spike-wave complexes and fast components of cortically generated seizures. III. Synchronizing mechanisms.

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Laboratoire de Neurophysiologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.


The intracortical and thalamocortical synchronization of spontaneously occurring or bicuculline-induced seizures, consisting of spike-wave (SW) or polyspike-wave (PSW) complexes at 2-3 Hz and fast runs at 10-15 Hz, was investigated in cats under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia. We used single and dual simultaneous intracellular recordings from cortical areas 5 and 7, and extracellular recordings of unit firing and field potentials from neocortical areas 5, 7, 17, 18, as well as related thalamic nuclei. The evolution of time delays between paroxysmal depolarizing events in single neurons or neuronal pools recorded from adjacent and distant sites was analyzed by using 1) sequential cross-correlations between field potentials, 2) averaged activities triggered by the spiky component of cortical SW/PSW complexes, and 3) time histograms between neuronal discharges. In all instances, the paroxysmal activities recorded from the dorsal thalamus lagged the onset of seizures in neocortex. The time lags between simultaneously impaled cortical neurons were significantly smaller during SW complexes than during the prior epochs of slow oscillation. During seizures, as during the slow oscillation, the intracortical synchrony was reduced with increased distance between different cortical sites. Dual intracellular recordings showed that, during the same seizure, time lags were not constant and, instead, reflected alternating precession of the recorded foci. After transection between areas 5 and 7, the intracortical synchrony was lost, but corticothalamocortical volleys could partially restore seizure synchrony. These data show that the neocortex leads the thalamus during SW/PSW seizures, that time lags between cortical foci are not static, and that thalamus may assist synchronization of SW/PSW seizures after disconnection of intracortical synaptic linkages.

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