The onset of focal seizures in humans and in different animal models of focal epilepsy correlates with reduction of neuronal firing and enhanced interneuronal network activity. Whether this phenomenon contributes to seizure generation is still unclear. We used the in vitro entorhinal cortex slices bathed in 4-aminopirydine (4-AP) as an experimental paradigm model to evaluate the correlation between interneuronal GABAergic network activity and seizure-like events. Epileptiform discharges were recorded in layer V–VI pyramidal neurons and fast-spiking interneurons in slices from male and female mice and in the isolated female guinea pig brain preparation during perfusion with 4-AP. We observed that 90% of seizure-like events recorded in principal cells were preceded by outward currents coupled with extracellular potassium shifts, abolished by pharmacological blockade of GABAA receptors. Potassium elevations associated to GABAA receptor-mediated population events were confirmed in the entorhinal cortex of the in vitro isolated whole guinea pig brain. Fast-rising and sustained extracellular potassium increases associated to interneuronal network activity consistently preceded the initiation of seizure-like events. We conclude that in the 4-AP seizure model, interneuronal network activity occurs before 4-AP-induced seizures and therefore supports a role of interneuron activity in focal seizure generation.
- Extracellular potassium
- GABAergic interneuronal network
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