Regulation of extracellular potassium concentration in epileptogenesis

Fed Proc. 1976 May 1;35(6):1254-9.


Characteristic elevations in the brain's extracellular potassium concentration [K+]0 occur during focal epileptogenesis. These changes have particular spatial and temporal profiles that are different in hippocampus and neocortex, and in mature and immature animals. Increases in [K+]0 cannot be the sole explanation for regional variations in seizure susceptibility, interictal-ictal transitions, or termination of ictal episodes. Excess [K+]0 is cleared primarily by passive diffusion with a small amount taken up into cells and blood vessels. Cortical neuroglia have sensitivities to changes in [K+]0 similar to that observed in glial cells in invertebrates and amphibia. However, discrepancies in the expected relationship between [K+]o and glial membrane potential Vm suggest either a heterogeneous population of glial cell types and/or the presence of a glial syncytium which acts as a spatial buffer to increases in [K+]0.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Diffusion
  • Epilepsies, Partial / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Gliosis / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Seizures / metabolism*


  • Potassium