Mapping progressive loss of intracortical inhibition by TMS and EEG in PTE

Cerebral injury often leads to epilepsy via epileptogenesis, the process by which the brain is transformed into an enduring state (epilepsy) characterized by repeated unprovoked seizures. Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common example of epiletogenesis in young adults, and leads to epilepsy in 20-50% of instances. This epileptogenic period provides a window of opportunity where patients at risk for developing seizures may be identified, and where anti-epileptogenic therapy may be administered. Yet, there is no reliable clinical biomarker for epileptogenesis to identify whether epileptogenesis has started and how far it has advanced. Accordingly, the long-term goal of the proposed experiments is to use a rat epileptogenic TBI model to develop a safe, inexpensive and noninvasive electrophysiologic biomarker of epileptogenesis that is based on measures of cortical excitability by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). As a secondary goal, we will test if similar measures can be obtained by cortical EEG. We recently developed methods for focal motor cortex TMS in rats, demonstrated that these reliably reflect the magnitude of GABA- mediated cortical inhibition, and showed that such inhibition is depressed in rat seizure models, including a model of posttraumatic epilepsy. Here we propose to use the rat lateral fluid percussion (LFP) possttraumatic epilepsy model to test (1) whether the loss of cortical inhibition is progressive in time during epileptogenesis, (2) whether loss of intracortical inhibition after injury can predict seizure onset, and (3) whether potentially reversible cellular changes such as loss of GABA-ergic interneurons underlie the TMS-derived measures of cortical inhibition loss. Although the proposed experiments are limited to a rat model of post-TBI epilepto-genesis, we anticipate that the results will inform studies of TMS as a biomarker in other forms of epilepto-genesis. Further, as we will record EEG in all animals, we will test whether gamma frequency EEG power, which also reflects the integrity of GABA-mediated cortical inhibition, can serve as an epileptogenesis bio-marker. Since TMS and EEG are already in wide human use, we anticipate that favorable data from the proposed experiments will be rapidly translated to clinical trials in human TBI.