Goldilocks Zone of Ictal Onset: Partially Recovered Synapses Provide the Kindling to Fuel Ictal Activity

Deepak Subramanian, Viji Santhakumar

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A Proposed Mechanism for Spontaneous Transitions Between Interictal and Ictal Activity Jacob T, Lillis KP, Wang Z, Swiercz W, Rahmati N, Staley KJ. J Neurosci. 2019;39(3):557-575. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0719-17.2018. Epub 2018 Nov 16. PMID: 30446533 Epileptic networks are characterized by 2 outputs: brief interictal spikes and rarer, more prolonged seizures. Although either output state is readily modeled in silico and induced experimentally, the transition mechanisms are unknown, in part because no models exhibit both output states spontaneously. In silico, small-world neural networks were built using single-compartment neurons whose physiological parameters were derived from dual whole-cell recordings of pyramidal cells in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures that were generating spontaneous seizure-like activity. In silico, neurons were connected by abundant local synapses and rare long-distance synapses. Activity-dependent synaptic depression and gradual recovery delimited synchronous activity. Full synaptic recovery engendered interictal population spikes that spread via long-distance synapses. When synaptic recovery was incomplete, postsynaptic neurons required coincident activation of multiple presynaptic terminals to reach firing threshold. Only local connections were sufficiently dense to spread activity under these conditions. This coalesced network activity into traveling waves whose velocity varied with synaptic recovery. Seizures were comprised of sustained traveling waves that were similar to those recorded during experimental and human neocortical seizures. Sustained traveling waves occurred only when wave velocity, network dimensions, and the rate of synaptic recovery enabled wave reentry into previously depressed areas at precisely ictogenic levels of synaptic recovery. Wide-field, cellular resolution GCamP7b calcium imaging demonstrated similar initial patterns of activation in the hippocampus, although the anatomical distribution of traveling waves of synaptic activation was altered by the pattern of synaptic connectivity in the organotypic hippocampal cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-332
Number of pages3
JournalEpilepsy Currents
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology


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