Burst firing of single neurons in the human medial temporal lobe changes before epileptic seizures.

Gast, Heidemarie; Niediek, Johannes; Schindler, Kaspar Anton; Boström, Jan; Coenen, Volker A; Beck, Heinz; Elger, Christian E; Mormann, Florian (2016). Burst firing of single neurons in the human medial temporal lobe changes before epileptic seizures. Clinical neurophysiology, 127(10), pp. 3329-3334. Elsevier 10.1016/j.clinph.2016.08.010

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OBJECTIVE To better understand the mechanisms that lead to the sudden and unexpected occurrence of seizures, with the neuronal correlate being abnormally synchronous discharges that disrupt neuronal function. METHODS To address this problem, we recorded single neuron activity in epilepsy patients during the transition to seizures to uncover specific changes of neuronal firing patterns. We focused particularly on neurons repeatedly firing discrete groups of high-frequency action potentials (so called bursters) that have been associated with ictogenesis. We analyzed a total of 459 single neurons and used the mean autocorrelation time as a quantitative measure of burstiness. To unravel the intricate roles of excitation and inhibition, we also examined differential contributions from putative principal cells and interneurons. RESULTS During interictal recordings, burstiness was significantly higher in the seizure onset hemisphere, an effect found only for principal cells, but not for interneurons, and which disappeared before seizures. CONCLUSION These findings deviate from conventional views of ictogenesis that propose slowly-increasing aggregates of bursting neurons which give rise to seizures once they reach a critical mass. SIGNIFICANCE Instead our results are in line with recent hypotheses that bursting may represent a protective mechanism by preventing direct transmission of postsynaptic high-frequency oscillations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Gast, Heidemarie and Schindler, Kaspar Anton


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stefanie Hetzenecker

Date Deposited:

03 Oct 2016 15:04

Last Modified:

03 Oct 2016 15:04

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Burstiness; Interictal; Interneurons; Pre-ictal; Principal cells





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