Epilepsy is a debilitating disorder for millions of Americans, and many are not helped with medications or resective surgery. New therapies are needed. The laboratory of Dr. Steve Potter has recently shown that epileptic activity in neuronal cultures is completely blocked by low-current, low-frequency stimulation from an array of small electrodes. Simultaneously recording neural activity and using it to modify stimulation voltages-that is, using closed-loop feedback to control stimulation-allowed even lower voltages and slower frequencies to block the seizure-like events. The current proposal will extend these findings to live rodents with chronic, spontaneous seizures. Specifically, it is proposed to investigate parameters for effective microstimulation in vivo (using a custom-built stimulator and recording suite), in both normal and epileptic brains, and attempt to suppress epileptiform activity in vivo with both distributed stimulation and closed-loop stimulation. Lastly, since the proposed method relies on recorded action potentials from multiple individual cells, it is proposed to investigate the relation of this single cell activity to the classical seizure measure, the electroencephalogram (EEC), along with local field potentials recorded from high impedance microwires. The methodology uses 32-channel microwire arrays, chronically implanted in the hippocampi or sensorimotor cortex of adult rats, made epileptic with microinjections of tetanus toxin in the same region. The arrays record both cellular action potentials and EEG-like field potentials during the chronic, spontaneous seizures the rodents exhibit. A custom-built stimulator allows simultaneous recording and stimulation from the same implanted set of electrodes.

Public Health Relevance

Many patients with epilepsy continue to experience seizures despite our best medical therapies. Our lab has shown that small arrays of electrodes, recording and stimulating with a state-control algorithm, can completely suppress epileptic activity in cultured brain tissue. This proposal will investigate this treatment in animal models of epilepsy, to validate its safety and efficacy, before beginning clinical trials.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Individual Predoctoral NRSA for M.D./Ph.D. Fellowships (ADAMHA) (F30)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1-SRB-M (57))
Program Officer
Fureman, Brandy E
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Emory University
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Rolston, John D; Desai, Sharanya Arcot; Laxpati, Nealen G et al. (2011) Electrical stimulation for epilepsy: experimental approaches. Neurosurg Clin N Am 22:425-42, v
Hales, Chadwick M; Rolston, John D; Potter, Steve M (2010) How to culture, record and stimulate neuronal networks on micro-electrode arrays (MEAs). J Vis Exp :
Rolston, John D; Laxpati, Nealen G; Gutekunst, Claire-Anne et al. (2010) Spontaneous and evoked high-frequency oscillations in the tetanus toxin model of epilepsy. Epilepsia 51:2289-96
Rolston, John D; Gross, Robert E; Potter, Steve M (2009) NeuroRighter: closed-loop multielectrode stimulation and recording for freely moving animals and cell cultures. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2009:6489-92
Rolston, John D; Gross, Robert E; Potter, Steve M (2009) Common median referencing for improved action potential detection with multielectrode arrays. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2009:1604-7