Phase-locking of epileptic spikes to ongoing delta oscillations in non-convulsive status epilepticus

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The EEG of patients in non-convulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) often displays delta oscillations or generalized spike-wave discharges. In some patients, these delta oscillations coexist with intermittent epileptic spikes. In this study we verify the prediction of a computational model of the thalamo-cortical system that these spikes are phase-locked to the delta oscillations. We subsequently describe the physiological mechanism underlying this observation as suggested by the model. It is suggested that the spikes reflect inhibitory stochastic fluctuations in the input to thalamo-cortical relay neurons and phase-locking is a consequence of differential excitability of relay neurons over the delta cycle. Further analysis shows that the observed phase-locking can be regarded as a stochastic precursor of generalized spike-wave discharges. This study thus provides an explanation of intermittent spikes during delta oscillations in NCSE and might be generalized to other encephathologies in which delta activity can be observed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in systems neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2013


  • EWI-24069
  • spike-wave discharge
  • phase-locking
  • Absence status
  • thalamo-cortical system
  • absence seizure
  • IR-88276
  • delta oscillation
  • METIS-301590


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