Medial septal GABAergic neurons reduce seizure duration upon optogenetic closed-loop stimulation

Brain. 2021 Jun 22;144(5):1576-1589. doi: 10.1093/brain/awab042.


Seizures can emerge from multiple or large foci in temporal lobe epilepsy, complicating focally targeted strategies such as surgical resection or the modulation of the activity of specific hippocampal neuronal populations through genetic or optogenetic techniques. Here, we evaluate a strategy in which optogenetic activation of medial septal GABAergic neurons, which provide extensive projections throughout the hippocampus, is used to control seizures. We utilized the chronic intrahippocampal kainate mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, which results in spontaneous seizures and as is often the case in human patients, presents with hippocampal sclerosis. Medial septal GABAergic neuron populations were immunohistochemically labelled and were not reduced in epileptic conditions. Genetic labelling with mRuby of medial septal GABAergic neuron synaptic puncta and imaging across the rostral to caudal extent of the hippocampus, also indicated an unchanged number of putative synapses in epilepsy. Furthermore, optogenetic stimulation of medial septal GABAergic neurons consistently modulated oscillations across multiple hippocampal locations in control and epileptic conditions. Finally, wireless optogenetic stimulation of medial septal GABAergic neurons, upon electrographic detection of spontaneous hippocampal seizures, resulted in reduced seizure durations. We propose medial septal GABAergic neurons as a novel target for optogenetic control of seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy.

Keywords: medial septum GABAergic neurons; network stimulation; optogenetics; temporal lobe epilepsy; wireless closed-loop intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Optogenetics*
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Septal Nuclei / physiopathology*