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Focal cooling rapidly terminates experimental neocortical seizures

Authors

  • Xiao-Feng Yang MD,

    1. Department of Neurology and Center for the Study of Nervous System Injury, Washington University School of Medicine Department of Neurology and Epilepsy Center, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO
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  • Steven M. Rothman MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neurology and Center for the Study of Nervous System Injury, Washington University School of Medicine Department of Neurology and Epilepsy Center, St. Louis Children's Hospital, St. Louis, MO
    • Department of Neurology, Room 12E/25, St. Louis Children's Hospital, 1 Children's Place, St. Louis, MO 63110
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Abstract

The efficacy of surgical resection for epilepsy is considerably lower for neocortical epilepsy than for temporal lobe epilepsy. We have explored focal cooling with a thermoelectric (Peltier) device as a potential therapy for neocortical epilepsy. After creating a cranial window in anesthetized rats, we induced seizures by injecting artificial cerebrospinal fluid containing 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), a potassium channel blocker. Within 30 minutes of 4-AP injection, animals developed recurrent seizures (duration 85.7 ± 26.2 seconds; n = 10 rats) that persisted for 2 hours. When a small Peltier device cooled the exposed cortical surface to 20–25°C at seizure onset, the seizure duration was reduced to 8.4 ± 5.0 seconds (n = 10 rats; p < 0.001). When the Peltier device was placed close to the cortical surface, but not allowed to make physical contact, there was no effect on seizure duration (104.3 ± 20.7 seconds; p > 0.05 compared to control). Interestingly, the duration of uncooled seizures was reduced after we allowed the cortex to rewarm from prior cooling. Histological examination of the cortex after cooling has shown no evidence of acute or delayed neuronal injury, and blood pressure and temperature remained stable. It may be possible to use Peltier devices for cortical mapping or, when seizure detection algorithms improve, for chronic seizure control.

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