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Brain Res. 1992 Jul 31;587(1):158-63.

Hyperexcitability associated with localizable lesions in epileptic patients.

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Section of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


Intracellular recordings from neurons were carried out in cortical slices obtained from tissue removed from patients suffering from intractable seizures. The patients were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of an anatomical abnormality that could be imaged preoperatively. The lesion or its surround was the presumptive epileptogenic area. The tissue removed from the patients without lesions was removed either for biopsy purposes or for access to epileptic tissue and was not considered epileptogenic. All neurons from patients without an imageable lesion, and some (19%) from patients with an imageable lesion, responded to orthodromic stimuli with a sequence of synaptic excitation followed by inhibition; these properties resembled those of normal rodent cortical slices. Different responses, classified as abnormal, were observed in 81% of the neurons in tissue specimens obtained near lesions. The most common was prolonged synaptic excitation with no noticeable inhibition, even at high stimulus strengths. In three resections, long latency all-or-none depolarization shifts were observed that resemble the classic paradoxical depolarization shift seen in in vivo extracellular recordings. Loss of specific inhibitory systems within the cortex may contribute in part to these abnormal responses.

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