Periventricular nodular heterotopia functionally couples with the overlying hippocampus


Address correspondence to Hiroki Kitaura, Department of Pathology, Brain Research Institute, University of Niigata, 1 Asahimachi, Chuo-ku, Niigata 951-8585, Japan. E-mail:


Patients with periventricular nodular heterotopia (PVNH) often have severe epilepsy. However, it is unclear how the heterotopia contributes to epileptogenesis. Recently, electrophysiologic studies using intraoperative depth electrodes have indicated that interaction between the heterotopia and overlying cortex is crucial for seizure onset. We performed an in vitro physiologic study using slices of resected brain from a 22-year-old man with PVNH, who manifested medically refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Preoperative evaluation indicated that the right mesial temporal structure and PVNH were the epileptogenic focus. The resected tissue was immediately immersed in cold artificial cerebrospinal fluid, and then slices of the brain tissue including the heterotopic nodules and overlying hippocampus were prepared. We electrically stimulated the incubated slices, and the elicited neural activities were analyzed as changes in the flavoprotein fluorescence signals. When we stimulated either the heterotopic nodule or the overlying hippocampus, clear functional coupling of neural activities between these structures was observed. The coupling response evoked by stimulation of the subiculum and developing within the heterotopic nodule was enhanced by application of bicuculline. Therefore, activities of the hippocampus and the nodule are closely correlated.