Subacute and chronic electrical stimulation of the hippocampus on intractable temporal lobe seizures: preliminary report.


Recent animal experiments show that the application of an electrical stimulus to the amygdala or hippocampus following the kindling stimulus produced a significant and long-lasting suppressive effect on this experimental model of epilepsy. This is a preliminary report on the development of a surgical neuromodulatory procedure by chronic electrical stimulation of the hippocampus (CHCS) for control of intractable temporal lobe seizures in patients in whom anterior temporal lobectomy is not advisable, i.e., patients with bilateral temporal foci or a unilateral focus spreading to surrounding cerebral regions of the dominant hemisphere. This work was divided in two main consecutive stages. In the first stage, we demonstrated that subacute hippocampal stimulation (SAHCS) blocks intractable temporal lobe epileptogenesis with no additional damage to the stimulated tissue, and in a second stage, we attempt to demonstrate that CHCS may produce a sustained, long-lasting antiepileptic condition without additional undesirable effects on language and memory. In addition, taking advantage of this unique and ethically permissible situation, we attempt to determine whether or not the antiepileptic effects of SAHCS and CHCS are due to inhibition of the stimulation of hippocampal tissue by means of a number of electrophysiological, single photon computed tomography (SPECT) perfusion, and autoradiographic techniques.SAHCS during 3-4 weeks prior to anterior temporal lobectomy applied to a critical area located either at the anterior Pes hippocampus close to the amygdala or at the parahippocampal gyrus close to the entorhinal cortex abolished clinical seizures and significantly decreased the number of interictal spikes at focus after 5-6 days. Microscopy analysis of the stimulated tissue showed no evident histopathological differences between stimulated vs. non-stimulated hippocampal tissues. Additionally, CHCS persistently blocked temporal lobe epileptogenesis for 3-4 months with no apparent additional undesirable effects on short memory. Also, inhibition of the stimulated hippocampus seems to be one of the possible mechanisms underlying the beneficial antiepileptic effects of SAHCS and CHCS. This was revealed by increased threshold and decreased duration of the afterdischarges induced by hippocampal stimulation, flattening of the hippocampal-evoked response recovery cycles, SPECT hypoperfusion of the hippocampal region, and increased hippocampal benzodiazepine receptor binding. Future studies increasing the number and time of follow-up of patients under hippocampal stimulation are necessary before considering CHCS a reliable procedure for controlling intractable temporal lobe seizures.

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@article{Velasco2000SubacuteAC, title={Subacute and chronic electrical stimulation of the hippocampus on intractable temporal lobe seizures: preliminary report.}, author={A L Velasco and M Velasco and F Velasco and D Menes and F Gordon and L Rocha and M Briones and I M{\'a}rquez}, journal={Archives of medical research}, year={2000}, volume={31 3}, pages={316-28} }