Burst suppression uncovers rapid widespread alterations in network excitability caused by an acute seizure focus

Brain. 2019 Oct 1;142(10):3045-3058. doi: 10.1093/brain/awz246.


Burst suppression is an electroencephalogram pattern of globally symmetric alternating high amplitude activity and isoelectricity that can be induced by general anaesthetics. There is scattered evidence that burst suppression may become spatially non-uniform in the setting of underlying pathology. Here, we induced burst suppression with isoflurane in rodents and then created a neocortical acute seizure focus with injection of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) in somatosensory cortex. Burst suppression events were recorded before and after creation of the focus using bihemispheric wide-field calcium imaging and multielectrode arrays. We find that the seizure focus elicits a rapid alteration in triggering, initiation, and propagation of burst suppression events. Compared with the non-seizing brain, bursts are triggered from the thalamus, initiate in regions uniquely outside the epileptic focus, elicit marked increases of multiunit activity and propagate towards the seizure focus. These findings support the rapid, widespread impact of focal epilepsy on the extended brain network.

Keywords: burst suppression; calcium imaging; multielectrode array; seizure focus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 4-Aminopyridine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Isoflurane / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / drug effects
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seizures / metabolism
  • Seizures / physiopathology*


  • 4-Aminopyridine
  • Isoflurane