Pathological responses to single pulse electrical stimuli in epilepsy: the role of feedforward inhibition

Jurgen Hebbink*, Geertjan J.M. Huiskamp, Stephan A. van Gils, Frans S.S. Leijten, Hil Gaétan Ellart Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Delineation of epileptogenic cortex in focal epilepsy patients may profit from single pulse electrical stimulation during intracranial EEG recordings. Single pulse electrical stimulation evokes early and delayed responses. Early responses represent connectivity. Delayed responses are a biomarker for epileptogenic cortex, but up till now, the precise mechanism generating delayed responses remains elusive.
We used a data-driven modelling approach to study early and delayed responses. We hypothesized that delayed responses represent indirect responses triggered by early response activity and investigated this for 11 patients. Using two coupled neural masses we modelled early and delayed responses by combining simulations and bifurcation analysis. An important feature of the model is the inclusion of feedforward inhibitory connections.
The waveform of early responses can be explained by feedforward inhibition. Delayed responses can be viewed as second-order responses in the early response network which appear when input to a neural mass falls below a threshold forcing it temporarily to a spiking state. The combination of the threshold with noisy background input explains the typical stochastic appearance of delayed responses. The intrinsic excitability of a neural mass and the strength of its input influence the probability at which delayed responses to occur.
Our work gives a theoretical basis for the use of delayed responses as a biomarker for the epileptogenic zone, confirming earlier clinical observations. The combination of early responses revealing effective connectivity, and delayed responses showing intrinsic excitability, makes single pulse electrical stimulation an interesting tool to obtain data for computational models of epilepsy surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1136
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean journal of neuroscience
Issue number4
Early online date27 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • delayed responses
  • early responses
  • focal epilepsy
  • neural mass model
  • single-pulse electrical stimulation
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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