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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relations between cortical and thalamic cellular activities during absence seizures in rats.

In a rat model of generalized absence epilepsies (Genetic Absence Epilepsy Rats from Strasbourg, GAERS), multiunit activity was recorded simultaneously at different sites of the thalamocortical system under neurolept anaesthesia (fentanyl-droperidol). Under these conditions, bilaterally synchronized spike-and-wave-discharges (SWDs) occurred spontaneously on the electroencephalogram (EEG) that were in principle identical to those reported earlier from unanaesthetized preparations. The generation of SWDs on the EEG was associated with spike-concurrent, rhythmic burst-like activity in (mono-)synaptically connected regions of specific (somatosensory) thalamic regions and layers IVN of the somatosensory cortex, and the reticular thalamic nucleus. Precursor activity was typically recorded in cortical units, concomitant with 'embryonic' SW seizures on the EEG, before the paroxysm was evident on the gross EEG and in the thalamus. On average, SWD-correlated activity in layers IVN of the somatosensory cortex started significantly earlier than correlated burst-like firing in reticular and in ventrobasal thalamic neurons. Cellular peak firing in thalamus and cortex during bilaterally synchronized SWDs was related to the spike component on the gross EEG with the temporal rank order ventroposteromedial > ventrolateral > or = ventroposterolateral thalamic > > rostral reticular thalamic nuclei > or = cortex (layers IVN) = caudal reticular thalamic nucleus. A spike-related depression and wave-related increase in firing was recorded in anteroventral ventrolateral thalamic areas, presumably reflecting their peculiar anatomical arrangement within the thalamus. These results from an in vivo preparation with intact synaptic connections that spontaneously produces SWDs indicate that SWDs spread within the thalamocortical network, involving short and long delays. The order of concurrent rhythmic firing observed in thalamocortical circuits during SW seizures are supportive of the hypothesis that the processes of rhythmogenesis recruit local thalamic networks, while cortical mechanisms appear to synchronize rhythmic activities on a larger spatiotemporal scale, thereby providing an important contribution to the generalization of epileptiform activity and expression of SWDs on the EEG.[1]


  1. Relations between cortical and thalamic cellular activities during absence seizures in rats. Seidenbecher, T., Staak, R., Pape, H.C. Eur. J. Neurosci. (1998) [Pubmed]
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