Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg


Spiral Dynamics in Epileptic Neocortex

Epilepsy affects up to 50 million people worldwide, each year. Although much research has focused on the genetic and pharmacological aspects of this disorder, little is known about how the population activity patterns of neurons initiate and stabilize within the epileptic cortex. Our work in cortical slice models of epilepsy shows that spatially organized, dynamically stable spiral patterns may contribute to such epileptogenesis. We have also recently recorded such phenomena in vivo, in the Mongolian Gerbil, using voltage-sensitive dye imaging.

We hypothesize that such spiral dynamics may serve a role similar to the well-known reentrant spirals in ventricular fibrillation of the heart. In the heart, timed electrical stimulation can disrupt and "defibrillate" this activity --- our hypothesis suggests that epileptic dynamics may also be disrupted by electrical stimulation.

1. A neurobiologically-oriented Master candidate can perform voltage-sensitive dye imaging of this spiral activity in epileptic gerbils. Excitability of the cortex will be modulated by using pharmacological manipulation, direct current stimulation, and optogenetic methods. Increasing the excitability of the cortex should lead to predictable changes in the dynamics of the spirals.

 2. A biophysically-oriented Master candidate can perform analysis and modeling of the above data. This work will be based on previous experience in the theoretical understanding of spatio-temporal pattern formation under nonequilibrium conditions. The ability to model such spiral dynamics will not only further our understanding of the biophysics of epilepsy, but will also provide a necessary condition to treating such dynamic pathogenesis by external modulation.

Letzte Änderung: 29.03.2016 - Ansprechpartner: Katja Guttmann
Instability of an autocatalytic front
Lehrstuhlleiter im Ruhestand
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil.
Stefan C. Müller

Universitätsplatz 2
39106 Magdeburg

Email stefan.mueller