Research Topic

Networks Function and Plasticity in Epilepsy

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Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures affecting people of any age. It is among the more frequent neurological syndromes, particularly in childhood, and frequently associated with memory impairment and other cognitive and psychiatric ...

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures affecting people of any age. It is among the more frequent neurological syndromes, particularly in childhood, and frequently associated with memory impairment and other cognitive and psychiatric comorbidities. The later can be a consequence of: a) the initial etiologic factor and number of dynamic processes that lead to the development of the epilepsy or c) the occurrence of repeated seizures (for example in epileptic encephalopathies).

Experimental data highlight the contribution of aberrant brain plasticity to epileptogenesis and to the neuropsychiatric symptoms commonly experienced by patients with epilepsy. For instance, at the synaptic level, hippocampal and neocortical use-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synaptic strength is reliably suppressed in animal epilepsy models. Dramatic changes in the rate of neurogenesis are also reported in animal epilepsy models and indicate that exacerbation and/or a recapitulation of normal developmental processes in epilepsy lead to an aberrant cytoarchitectonic organization of brain networks in epilepsy. Beyond epilepsy, an increasing number of reports associate brain plasticity with either worsening or mitigation of psychiatric and degenerative brain disorders, thus illustrating the growing interest and relevance of this topic. Plastic changes observed in epileptic syndromes thus provide insight into the plasticity capacities of our brain that underlie normal brain function such as our ability to learn and modify our behavior, so that their investigation will be of interest to a wide community of neuroscientists and neurologists.

The objective of this Frontiers Research Topic is to explore a view of brain plasticity in context of epilepsy, and conversely to examine epilepsy as a brain plasticity event. Particular emphasis is put on how alterations of neural plasticity at the network level contribute to epilepsy phenotypes and, reversely how epilepsy impacts neuronal networks involved in learning and cognition. We encourage contributions that incorporate techniques that asses plasticity from the synapse to populations of cells, such as single unit, cell assembly, and network oscillatory recordings in vivo and in vitro by a range of methods such as patch clamp, field recordings and calcium imaging. As well, we encourage studies of the plasticity of regional activity and functional connectivity at both in humans and animal models. We will consider all types of contributions, from original research to review articles and encourage the submission of perspectives or opinions on this important issue.

We hope that together these contributions will provide a new and original approach of epilepsy that none of the previous Frontiers Topics addressed. We note in particular that the proposed topic focused on brain plasticity is distinct from the 2014 Frontiers topic evaluating functional brain mapping in epilepsy patients.


Keywords: oscillations, interneurons, excitation-inhibition balance, synaptic plasticity, sprouting, neurogenesis, receptor expression, homeosthasis, synaptic post translational modifications


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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