Effect of stimulus parameters in the treatment of seizures by electrical stimulation in the kainate animal model

Int J Neural Syst. 2011 Apr;21(2):151-62. doi: 10.1142/S0129065711002730.


Preliminary results from animal and clinical studies demonstrate that electrical stimulation of brain structures can reduce seizure frequency in patients with refractory epilepsy. Since most researchers derive stimulation parameters by trial and error, it is unclear what stimulation frequency, amplitude and duration constitutes a set of optimal stimulation parameters for aborting seizure activity in a given patient. In this investigation, we begin to quantify the independent effects of stimulation parameters on electrographic seizures, such that they could be used to develop an efficient closed-loop prosthesis that intervenes before the clinical onset of a seizure and seizure generalization. Biphasic stimulation is manually delivered to the hippocampus in response to a visually detected electrographic seizure. Such focal, responsive stimulation allows for anti-seizure treatment delivery with improved temporal and spatial specificity over conventional open-loop stimulation paradigms, with the possibility of avoiding tissue damage stemming from excessive exposure to electrical stimulation. We retrospectively examine the effects of stimulation frequency (low, medium and high), pulse-width (low and high) and amplitude (low and high) in seizures recorded from 23 kainic acid treated rats. We also consider the effects of total charge delivered and the rate of charge delivery, and identify stimulation parameter sets that induce after-discharges or more seizures. Among the stimulation parameters evaluated, we note 2 major findings. First, stimulation frequency is a key parameter for inhibiting seizure activity; the anti-seizure effect cannot be attributed to only the charge delivered per phase. Second, an after-discharge curve shows that as the frequency and pulse-width of stimulation increases, smaller pulse amplitudes are capable of eliciting an after-discharge. It is expected that stimulation parameter optimization will lead to devices with enhanced treatment efficacies and reduced side-effect profiles, especially when used in conjunction with seizure prediction or detection algorithms in a closed-loop control application.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kainic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Seizures / therapy*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Kainic Acid