Bursting activity of neurons in the human anterior thalamic nucleus

Mojgan Hodaie, Roberto Cordella, Andres M. Lozano, Richard Wennberg, Jonathan O. Dostrovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single unit microelectrode recordings were obtained under local anesthesia in 5 patients who underwent placement of deep brain stimulation electrodes in the anterior thalamic nucleus for control of intractable epilepsy. Of the 261 neurons recorded, 145 were in the anterior nucleus (AN), with the remainder ventral to AN in nucleus cucularis and dorsal dorsomedian nucleus (DM). 126 of the 261 neurons fired in bursts, and of these, 74 cells were analyzed in greater detail to characterize their bursting pattern. The bursts in 70% of the bursting neurons were characterized as low-threshold calcium spike (LTS) mediated bursts, on the basis of their intraburst firing pattern. The bursts of the remainder, although similar to LTS bursts, did not fulfil all of the criteria for an LTS burst and were termed atypical bursting cells. LTS and atypical bursting cells were found both within AN and in the nucleus cucularis and dorsal DM. The LTS bursting observed in these patients may be due to the altered electrophysiological state of the patients studied since LTS bursting in thalamus is usually only observed during sleep. This study describes for the first time the properties of this nucleus in humans and may be important in furthering our knowledge of thalamic mechanisms of epileptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 18 2006


  • Bursting activity
  • Human epilepsy
  • Low-threshold calcium spike
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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