Front. Syst. Neurosci., 20 October 2010 |

Studying network mechanisms using intracranial stimulation in epileptic patients

  • 1 INSERM U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Grenoble, France
  • 2 Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France
  • 3 Clinique Universitaire de Neuroradiologie et Unité IRM, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Grenoble, France
  • 4 Clinique Universitaire de Neurochirurgie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Grenoble, France
  • 5 Laboratoire de Neurophysiopathologie de l’Epilepsie, Clinique Universitaire de Neurologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Grenoble, France
  • 6 CTRS-IDEE, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Lyon, France

Patients suffering from focal drug-resistant epilepsy who are explored using intracranial electrodes allow to obtain data of exceptional value for studying brain dynamics in correlation with pathophysiological and cognitive processes. Direct electrical stimulation (DES) of cortical regions and axonal tracts in those patients elicits a number of very specific perceptual or behavioral responses, but also abnormal responses due to specific configurations of epileptic networks. Here, we review how anatomo-functional brain connectivity and epilepsy network mechanisms can be assessed from DES responses measured in patients. After a brief summary of mechanisms of action of brain electrical stimulation, we recall the conceptual framework for interpreting DES results in the context of brain connectivity and review how DES can be used for the characterization of functional networks, the identification of the seizure onset zone, the study of brain plasticity mechanisms, and the anticipation of epileptic seizures. This pool of exceptional data may be underexploited by fundamental research on brain connectivity and leaves much to be learned.

Keywords: neurostimulation, epilepsy, connectivity, networks, cognition, plasticity, electroencephalography

Citation: David O, Bastin J, Chabardès S, Minotti L and Kahane P (2010) Studying network mechanisms using intracranial stimulation in epileptic patients. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 4:148. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2010.00148

Received: 11 June 2010; Accepted: 20 September 2010;
Published online: 20 October 2010.

Edited by:

Barry Horwitz, National Institutes of Health, USA

Reviewed by:

Peter Tass, Research Center Jülich, Germany
Arpan Banerjee, Florida Atlantic University, USA

Copyright: © 2010 David, Bastin, Chabardès, Minotti and Kahane. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Olivier David, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences – INSERM U836, Chemin Fortuné Ferrini – Bât EJ Safra, 38700 La Tronche, France. e-mail: