Self-organised transients in a neural mass model of epileptogenic tissue dynamics

Marc Goodfellow, Kaspar Schindler, Gerold Baier

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    Stimulation of human epileptic tissue can induce rhythmic, self-terminating responses on the EEG or ECoG. These responses play a potentially important role in localising tissue involved in the generation of seizure activity, yet the underlying mechanisms are unknown. However, in vitro evidence suggests that self-terminating oscillations in nervous tissue are underpinned by non-trivial spatio-temporal dynamics in an excitable medium. In this study, we investigate this hypothesis in spatial extensions to a neural mass model for epileptiform dynamics. We demonstrate that spatial extensions to this model in one and two dimensions display propagating travelling waves but also more complex transient dynamics in response to local perturbations. The neural mass formulation with local excitatory and inhibitory circuits, allows the direct incorporation of spatially distributed, functional heterogeneities into the model. We show that such heterogeneities can lead to prolonged reverberating responses to a single pulse perturbation, depending upon the location at which the stimulus is delivered. This leads to the hypothesis that prolonged rhythmic responses to local stimulation in epileptogenic tissue result from repeated self-excitation of regions of tissue with diminished inhibitory capabilities. Combined with previous models of the dynamics of focal seizures this macroscopic framework is a first step towards an explicit spatial formulation of the concept of the epileptogenic zone. Ultimately, an improved understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms of the epileptogenic zone will help to improve diagnostic and therapeutic measures for treating epilepsy. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2644-2660
    Number of pages16
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


    • Afterdischarges
    • EEG
    • Epilepsy
    • Excitable media
    • Ictogenesis
    • Mathematical modelling
    • Neural-mass models
    • Stimulus response


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