Biology (Feb 2022)

Mimicking CA3 Temporal Dynamics Controls Limbic Ictogenesis

  • Davide Caron,
  • Ángel Canal-Alonso,
  • Gabriella Panuccio

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 3
p. 371


Read online

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is the most common partial complex epilepsy in adults and the most unresponsive to medications. Electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the hippocampus has proved effective in controlling seizures in epileptic rodents and in drug-refractory MTLE patients. However, current DBS paradigms implement arbitrary fixed-frequency or patterned stimuli, disregarding the temporal profile of brain electrical activity. The latter, herein included hippocampal spontaneous firing, has been shown to follow lognormal temporal dynamics. Here, we present a novel paradigm to devise DBS protocols based on stimulation patterns fashioned as a surrogate brain signal. We focus on the interictal activity originating in the hippocampal subfield CA3, which has been shown to be anti-ictogenic. Using 4-aminopyridine-treated hippocampus-cortex slices coupled to microelectrode array, we pursue three specific aims: (1) address whether lognormal temporal dynamics can describe the CA3-driven interictal pattern, (2) explore the possibility of restoring the non-seizing state by mimicking the temporal dynamics of this anti-ictogenic pattern with electrical stimulation, and (3) compare the performance of the CA3-surrogate against periodic stimulation. We show that the CA3-driven interictal activity follows lognormal temporal dynamics. Further, electrical stimulation fashioned as a surrogate interictal pattern exhibits similar efficacy but uses less pulses than periodic stimulation. Our results support the possibility of mimicking the temporal dynamics of relevant brain signals as a straightforward DBS strategy to ameliorate drug-refractory epilepsy. Further, they herald a paradigm shift in neuromodulation, wherein a compromised brain signal can be recreated by the appropriate stimuli distribution to bypass trial-and-error studies and attain physiologically meaningful DBS operating modes.