Histological characterization of the irritative zones in focal cortical dysplasia using a preclinical rat model

Abhay Deshmukh, Jared Leichner, Jihye Bae, Yinchen Song, Pedro A. Valdés-Hernández, Wei Chiang Lin, Jorge J. Riera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Current clinical practice in focal epilepsy involves brain source imaging (BSI) to localize brain areas where from interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) emerge. These areas, named irritative zones, have been useful to define candidate seizures-onset zones during pre-surgical workup. Since human histological data are mostly available from final resected zones, systematic studies characterizing pathophysiological mechanisms and abnormal molecular/cellular substrates in irritative zones—independent of them being epileptogenic—are challenging. Combining BSI and histological analysis from all types of irritative zones is only possible through the use of preclinical animal models. Here, we recorded 32-channel spontaneous electroencephalographic data from rats that have focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) and chronic seizures. BSI for different IED subtypes was performed using the methodology presented in Bae et al. (2015). Post-mortem brain sections containing irritative zones were stained to quantify anatomical, functional, and inflammatory biomarkers specific for epileptogenesis, and the results were compared with those obtained using the contralateral healthy brain tissue. We found abnormal anatomical structures in all irritative zones (i.e., larger neuronal processes, glioreactivity, and vascular cuffing) and larger expressions for neurotransmission (i.e., NR2B) and inflammation (i.e., ILβ1, TNFα and HMGB1). We conclude that irritative zones in this rat preclinical model of FCD comprise abnormal tissues disregarding whether they are actually involved in icto-genesis or not. We hypothesize that seizure perpetuation happens gradually; hence, our results could support the use of IED-based BSI for the early diagnosis and preventive treatment of potential epileptic foci. Further verifications in humans are yet needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
StatePublished - May 18 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Deshmukh, Leichner, Bae, Song, Valdés-Hernández, Lin and Riera.


  • Brain source imaging
  • Chronic seizures
  • Epileptogenesis
  • Histology
  • Irritative zones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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