Unraveling brain networks of absence epilepsy

A. Lüttjohann, H.-C. Pape

Absence epilepsy is a neurological disorder, which can be found in young children. It is characterized by sudden lapses op consciousness, which can occur up to several hundred times a day. The main electroencephalographic hallmark of absence epilepsy are the bilateral, synchronous spike and wave discharges (SWD), which can be recorded in the electroencephalogram of patients. While there is a general agreement that SWD are generated within the cortico-thalamic system, network interactions, relevant for the generation, generalization, maintenance and termination of SWD are still enigmatic and the relative functional contribution for cortex and different thalamic nuclei is highly debated.
In this project these questions are approached using a variety of experimental techniques including multisite LFP and single unit recordings in freely and anaesthetized, absence epileptic rats; analysis of pre-SWD -> SWD transition periods by advanced, signal analytical connectivity analyses, as well as modulation of SWD activity by local pharmacological manipulations or local electrical or optogenetic stimulation