A limited cortical resection including the rolandic fissure and the pre- and postcentral cortical regions was carried out in a patient suffering from epilepsia partialis continua resistant to antiepileptic drugs. The histological examination revealed several foci of very large neurons distributed with no laminar organization in the depth of the rolandic fissure and in the crown of the primary motor and primary somatosensory areas; these lesions were consistent with focal cortical dysplasia. In addition, decreased numbers of neurons, astrocytosis and proliferation of capillaries, compatible with chronic tissue necrosis, were found in the inferior regions of the banks of the rolandic fissure. Subpopulations of local-circuit neurons were examined with parvalbumin, calbindin D-28k and somatostatin immunocytochemistry. Focal areas of cortical dysplasia contained abnormal immunoreactive neurons. Huge parvalbumin-immunoreactive cells were distributed at random and resembled axo-axonic (chandelier) and basket neurons. Abnormal calbindin D-28k-immunoreactive cells were reminiscent of double-bouquet neurons and multipolar cells. Very large somatostatin-immunoreactive cells were seldom observed in the dysplastic foci. On the other hand, areas of tissue necrosis displayed massive reduction of immunoreactive cells and fibers. Abnormalities in the morphology and distribution of local-circuit (inhibitory) neurons observed here for the first time in focal cortical dysplasia may have a pivotal role in the appearance and prolongation of electrical discharges and continuous motor signs in human focal epilepsy.