High-frequency oscillations in epileptic brain

Curr Opin Neurol. 2010 Apr;23(2):151-6. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e3283373ac8.


Purpose of review: It has been 10 years since pathological high-frequency oscillations (pHFOs) were described in the brain of epileptic animals and patients. This review summarizes progress in research on mechanisms of their generation and potential clinical applications over that period.

Recent findings: Initially, pHFOs were recorded with microelectrodes in the hippocampus of rodents and patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), but recently pHFOs have also been recorded with clinical depth and grid electrodes in multiple brain areas including the hippocampus and neocortex of patients with different types of epilepsy. One hypothesis is that pHFOs reflect fields of hypersynchronized action potentials (bursts of population spikes) within small discrete neuronal clusters responsible for seizure generation. Studies suggest that pHFOs can be used as a reliable biomarker for epileptogenesis, epileptogenicity, and the delineation of the epileptogenic region.

Summary: Recording of pHFOs with clinical electrodes provides a means for further investigation of their functional role in the epileptic brain and as a potential biomarker of epileptogenesis and epileptogenicity and for presurgical mapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Periodicity*
  • Seizures / physiopathology