How do we use in vitro models to understand epileptiform and ictal activity? A report of the TASK1-WG4 group of the ILAE/AES Joint Translational Task Force

Epilepsia Open. 2018 Nov 2;3(4):460-473. doi: 10.1002/epi4.12277. eCollection 2018 Dec.


In vitro brain tissue preparations allow the convenient and affordable study of brain networks and have allowed us to garner molecular, cellular, and electrophysiologic insights into brain function with a detail not achievable in vivo. Preparations from both rodent and human postsurgical tissue have been utilized to generate in vitro electrical activity similar to electrographic activity seen in patients with epilepsy. A great deal of knowledge about how brain networks generate various forms of epileptiform activity has been gained, but due to the multiple in vitro models and manipulations used, there is a need for a standardization across studies. Here, we describe epileptiform patterns generated using in vitro brain preparations, focusing on issues and best practices pertaining to recording, reporting, and interpretation of the electrophysiologic patterns observed. We also discuss criteria for defining in vitro seizure-like patterns (i.e., ictal) and interictal discharges. Unifying terminologies and definitions are proposed. We suggest a set of best practices for reporting in vitro studies to favor both efficient across-lab comparisons and translation to in vivo models and human studies.

Keywords: Ictal activity; In vitro models; Review.