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The medial septum inhibits the appearance of interictal spikes and seizures through theta rhythm generation. We have determined that medial septal neurons increase their firing rates during chronic epilepsy and that the GABAergic neurons from both medial and lateral septal regions are highly and selectively vulnerable to the epilepsy process. Since the lateral septal region receives a strong projection from the hippocampus and its neurons are vulnerable to epilepsy, their functional properties are probably altered by this disorder. Using the pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy we examined the pilocarpine-induced functional alterations of lateral septal neurons and provided additional observations on the pilocarpine-induced functional alterations of medial septal neurons. Simultaneous extracellular recordings of septal neurons and hippocampal field potentials were obtained from chronic epileptic rats under urethane anesthesia. Our results show that: (1) the firing rates of lateral septal neurons were chronically decreased by epilepsy, (2) a subset of lateral septal neurons increased their firing rates before and during hippocampal interictal spikes, (3) the discharges of those lateral septal neurons were well correlated to the hippocampal interictal spikes, (4) in contrast, the discharges of medial septal neurons were not correlated with the hippocampal interictal spikes. We conclude that epilepsy creates dysfunctional and uncoupled septohippocampal networks. The elucidation of the roles of altered septo-hippocampal neuronal populations and networks during temporal lobe epilepsy will help design new and effective interventions dedicated to reduce or suppress epileptic activity.


© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Experimental Neurology





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