University of Alberta

Month: September 2009

Slow oscillation state facilitates epileptiform events in the hippocampus

PMID: 19553480

Nazer F, Dickson CT

J. Neurophysiol. 2009 Sep;102(3):1880-9


In mesial temporal lobe (MTL) epilepsy, which typically involves the hippocampus (HPC), epileptiform events are enhanced during slow wave sleep (SWS). It remains unclear how and why the electroencephalographic (EEG) states that constitute SWS might predispose the HPC to this type of pathological activity. Recently our laboratory has described a novel state of deactivated hippocampal EEG activity that occurs during both SWS and urethan anesthesia: the slow oscillation (SO). This activity is characterized by a high-amplitude approximately 1-Hz signal, high synchrony within the hippocampus, and a dynamic coordination with neocortical SO. To assess how this activity state might influence epileptiform discharges, we studied the properties of stimulation-evoked and spontaneous epileptiform events elicited in the HPC of urethan-anesthetized rats. We compared those elicited during the SO to those occurring during the theta rhythm. The average duration but not the amplitude of evoked afterdischarges (ADs) was consistently larger during the SO. In addition, spontaneous epileptiform events were more frequent and of higher amplitude during the SO. Last, the bilateral propagation of both ADs and spontaneous events in the hippocampus was enhanced during the SO. These results imply that the threshold for the generation and propagation of epileptiform activity in the hippocampus is lowered during the SO and that this state may be a seed for the initiation, maintenance, and generalization of MTL epilepsy. Further examination of the pathophysiology of sleep-epilepsy interactions in the HPC will be of benefit for an understanding of the mechanisms, prognosis, and therapy for this form of epilepsy.

Heat synch: inter- and independence of body-temperature fluctuations and brain-state alternations in urethane-anesthetized rats

PMID: 19587317

Whitten TA, Martz LJ, Guico A, Gervais N, Dickson CT

J. Neurophysiol. 2009 Sep;102(3):1647-56


During sleep, warm-blooded animals exhibit cyclic alternations between rapid-eye-movement (REM) and nonrapid-eye-movement (non-REM) states, characterized by distinct patterns of brain activity apparent in electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings coupled with corresponding changes in physiological measures, including body temperature. Recently we have shown that urethane-anesthetized rats display cyclic alternations between an activated state and a deactivated state that are highly similar in both EEG and physiological characteristics to REM and non-REM sleep states, respectively. Here, using intracranial local field potential recordings from urethane-anesthetized rats, we show that brain-state alternations were correlated to core temperature fluctuations induced using a feedback-controlled heating system. Activated (REM-like) states predominated during the rising phase of the temperature cycle, whereas deactivated (non-REM-like) states predominated during the falling phase. Brain-state alternations persisted following the elimination of core temperature fluctuations by the use of a constant heating protocol, but the timing and rhythmicity of state alternations were altered. In contrast, thermal fluctuations applied to the ventral surface (and especially the scrotum) of rats in the absence or independently of core temperature fluctuations appeared to induce brain-state alternations. Heating brought about activated patterns, whereas cooling produced deactivated patterns. This shows that although alternations of sleeplike brain states under urethane anesthesia can be independent of imposed temperature variations, they can also be entrained through the activation of peripheral thermoreceptors. Overall, these results imply that brain state and bodily metabolism are highly related during unconsciousness and that the brain mechanisms underlying sleep cycling and thermoregulation likely represent independent, yet coupled oscillators.

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