Cellular mechanisms underlying spontaneous interictal spikes in an acute model of focal cortical epileptogenesis

M. De Curtis, C. Radici, M. Forti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The cellular mechanisms involved in the generation of spontaneous epileptiform potentials were investigated in the pirifom cortex of the in vitro isolated guinea-pig brain. A single, unilateral injection of bicuculline (150-200 nmol) in the anterior piriform cortex induced locally spontaneous interictal spikes that recurred with a period of 8.81 ± 4.47 s and propagated caudally to the ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres. Simultaneous extra- and intracellular recordings from layer II and III principal cells showed that the spontaneous interictal spike correlates to a burst of action potentials followed by a large afterdepolarization. Intracellular application of the sodium conductance blocker, QX-314 (80 mM), abolished bursting activity and unmasked a high-threshold slow spike enhanced by the calcium chelator EGTA (50 mM). The slow spike was abolished by membrane hyperpolarization and by local perfusion with 2 mM cadmium. The depolarizing potential that followed the primary burst was reduced by arterial perfusion with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, DL-2- amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (100-200 μM). The non-N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (20 μM), completely and reversibly blocked the spontaneous spikes. The interictal spikes were terminated by a large afterpotential blocked either by intracellular QX-314 (80 mM) or by extracellular application of phaclofen and 2-hydroxysaclofen (10 and 4 mM, respectively). The present study demonstrates that, in an acute model of epileptogenesis, spontaneous interictal spikes are fostered by a primary burst of fast action potentials that ride on a regenerative high-threshold, possibly calcium-mediated spike, which activates a recurrent, glutamate-mediated potential responsible for the entrainment of adjacent and remote cortical regions. The bursting activity is controlled by a GABA(B) receptor-mediated inhibitory synaptic potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-117
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


  • Epileptogenesis
  • Interictal spikes
  • Intracellular recordings
  • Isolated brain preparation
  • Piriform cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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