Frontal cortex leads other brain structures in generalised spike-and-wave spindles and seizure spikes induced by picrotoxin

A. Medvedev, L. Mackenzie, J. J. Hiscock, J. O. Willoughby

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    Generalised spike-and-wave (SW) spindles (5-7 Hz) associated with myoclonic jerks precede the occurrence of regular spikes (2-3 Hz) associated with convulsive seizure induced by picrotoxin. SW spindles occur spontaneously in rodent and cat under some experimental conditions and are considered to be models of human generalised epilepsy. These spindles have been proposed as being led by a thalamic pacemaker. To examine this possibility in picrotoxin-induced SW spindles and seizure spikes, we recorded EEG using chronically implanted unipolar electrodes during intravenous picrotoxin infusion in freely behaving rat. The 6 EEG signals were digitally sampled at 1000 Hz. Linear correlation, spectral, coherence and phase analyses were undertaken to determine time differences (TDs) between EEG channels and the brain structure leading seizure activity. One frontal cortex led all other structures during SW spindles. TD between SW spindles in the leading frontal cortex (Fr1) and the contralateral Fr1 was 3.6 ± 0.5 msec. All ipsilateral structures (hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala, caudate nucleus and occipital cortex) were delayed by more than 3 msec from Fr1 (intralaminar thalamic nuclei - by 6.3 ± 0.9 msec). TDs of SW spindles between subcortical regions were less than 1.5 msec. Similar relationships with slightly smaller TDs were found with spikes during convulsive seizure except TDs between frontal cortices did not significantly differ from zero. We suggest that seizure activity induced by picrotoxin is led by one Fr1 during SW spindles and by both frontal cortices working as one system during convulsive seizure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)157-166
    Number of pages10
    JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1996


    • EEG
    • Generalised epilepsy
    • Seizure propagation
    • Spike-and-wave
    • Time differences


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