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Glissandi: transient fast electrocorticographic oscillations of steadily increasing frequency, explained by temporally increasing gap junction conductance

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mark Cunningham, Dr Anita Roopun, Dr Ian Schofield, Professor Roger Whittaker, Dr Alistair Jenkins, Professor Miles Whittington


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Purpose: We describe a form of very fast oscillation (VFO) in patient electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings, that can occur prior to ictal events, in which the frequency increases steadily from similar to 3040 to >120 Hz, over a period of seconds. We dub these events glissandi and describe a possible model for them. Methods: Four patients with epilepsy had presurgical evaluations (with ECoG obtained in two of them), and excised tissue was studied in vitro, from three of the patients. Glissandi were seen spontaneously in vitro, associated with ictal eventsusing acute slices of rat neocortexand they were simulated using a network model of 15,000 detailed layer V pyramidal neurons, coupled by gap junctions. Key findings: Glissandi were observed to arise from human temporal neocortex. In vitro, they lasted 0.24.1 s, prior to ictal onset. Similar events were observed in the rat in vitro in layer V of frontal neocortex when alkaline solution was pressure-ejected; glissandi persisted when ?-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA), GABAB, and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors were blocked. Nonalkaline conditions prevented glissando generation. In network simulations it was found that steadily increasing gap junction conductance would lead to the observed steady increase in VFO field frequency. This occurred because increasing gap junction conductance shortened the time required for an action potential to cross from cell to cell. Significance: The in vitro and modeling data are consistent with the hypothesis that glissandi arise when pyramidal cell gap junction conductances rise over time, possibly as a result of an alkaline fluctuation in brain pH.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cunningham MO, Roopun A, Schofield IS, Whittaker RG, Duncan R, Russell A, Jenkins A, Nicholson C, Whittington MA, Traub RD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Epilepsia

Year: 2012

Volume: 53

Issue: 7

Pages: 1205-1214

Print publication date: 12/06/2012

ISSN (print): 0013-9580

ISSN (electronic): 1528-1167

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03530.x


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Funder referenceFunder name
Einstein Stiftung Berlin
Newcastle upon Tyne Healthcare Charities Trust
Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung
Dr Hadwen Trust
MRC Milstein Fund (United Kingdom)
Royal Society
Wolfson Foundation