Objective: Intracellular recordings from cells in entorhinal cortex tissue slices show that low-voltage fast (LVF) onset seizures are generated by inhibitory events. Here, we determined whether increased firing of interneurons occurs at the onset of spontaneous mesial-temporal LVF seizures recorded in patients.
Methods: The seizure onset zone (SOZ) was identified using visual inspection of the intracranial electroencephalogram. We used wavelet clustering and temporal autocorrelations to characterize changes in single-unit activity during the onset of LVF seizures recorded from microelectrodes in mesial-temporal structures. Action potentials generated by principal neurons and interneurons (ie, putative excitatory and inhibitory neurons) were distinguished using waveform morphology and K-means clustering.
Results: From a total of 200 implanted microelectrodes in 9 patients during 13 seizures, we isolated 202 single units; 140 (69.3%) of these units were located in the SOZ, and 40 (28.57%) of them were classified as inhibitory. The waveforms of both excitatory and inhibitory units remained stable during the LVF epoch (p > > 0.05). In the mesial-temporal SOZ, inhibitory interneurons increased their firing rate during LVF seizure onset (p < 0.01). Excitatory neuron firing rates peaked 10 seconds after the inhibitory neurons (p < 0.01). During LVF spread to the contralateral mesial temporal lobe, an increase in inhibitory neuron firing rate was also observed (p < 0.01).
Interpretation: Our results suggest that seizure generation and spread during spontaneous mesial-temporal LVF onset events in humans may result from increased inhibitory neuron firing that spawns a subsequent increase in excitatory neuron firing and seizure evolution. Ann Neurol 2018;84:588-600.
© 2018 American Neurological Association.