Persistent sodium current in subicular neurons isolated from patient with temporal lobe epilepsy

Martin Vreugdenhil, G Hoogland, CWM van Veelen, WJ Wadman

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    The persistent sodium current is a common target of anti-epileptic drugs and contributes to burst firing. Intrinsically burst firing subicular neurons are involved in the generation and spread of epileptic activity. We measured whole-cell sodium currents in pyramidal neurons isolated from the subiculum resected in drug-resistant epileptic patients and in rats. In half of the cells from both patients and rats, the sodium current inactivated within 500 ms at -30 mV. Others displayed a tetrodotoxin-sensitive slowly or non-inactivating sodium current of up to 53% of the total sodium current amplitude. Compared with the transient sodium current in the same cells, this persistent sodium current activated with normal kinetics but its voltage-dependent activation occurred 7 mV more hyperpolarized. Depolarizing voltage steps that lasted 10 s completely inactivated the persistent sodium current. Its voltage dependence did not differ from that of the transient sodium current but its slope was less steep. The voltage dependence and kinetics of the persistent sodium current in cells from patients were not different from that in subicular cells from rats. The current density and the relative amplitude contribution were 3-4 times greater in neurons from drug-resistant epilepsy patients. The abundant presence of persistent sodium current in half of the subicular neurons could lead to a larger number of neurons with intrinsic burst firing. The extraordinarily large amplitude of the persistent sodium current in this subset of subicular neurons might explain why these patients are susceptible to seizures and hard to treat pharmacologically.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2769-2778
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


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