Asynchronous suppression of visual cortex during absence seizures in stargazer mice

Nat Commun. 2018 May 16;9(1):1938. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04349-8.


Absence epilepsy is a common childhood disorder featuring frequent cortical spike-wave seizures with a loss of awareness and behavior. Using the calcium indicator GCaMP6 with in vivo 2-photon cellular microscopy and simultaneous electrocorticography, we examined the collective activity profiles of individual neurons and surrounding neuropil across all layers in V1 during spike-wave seizure activity over prolonged periods in stargazer mice. We show that most (~80%) neurons in all cortical layers reduce their activity during seizures, whereas a smaller pool activates or remains neutral. Unexpectedly, ictal participation of identified single-unit activity is not fixed, but fluctuates on a flexible time scale from seizure to seizure. Pairwise correlation analysis of calcium activity reveals a surprising lack of synchrony among neurons and neuropil patches in all layers during seizures. Our results demonstrate asynchronous suppression of visual cortex during absence seizures, with potential implications for understanding cortical network function during EEG states of reduced awareness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electrocorticography
  • Epilepsy, Absence / genetics
  • Epilepsy, Absence / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropil / physiology
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology*


  • Cacng2 protein, mouse
  • Calcium Channels