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1.  Correlates of spreading depolarization in human scalp electroencephalography 
Brain  2012;135(3):853-868.
It has been known for decades that suppression of spontaneous scalp electroencephalographic activity occurs during ischaemia. Trend analysis for such suppression was found useful for intraoperative monitoring during carotid endarterectomy, or as a screening tool to detect delayed cerebral ischaemia after aneurismal subarachnoid haemorrhage. Nevertheless, pathogenesis of such suppression of activity has remained unclear. In five patients with aneurismal subarachnoid haemorrhage and four patients with decompressive hemicraniectomy after malignant hemispheric stroke due to middle cerebral artery occlusion, we here performed simultaneously full-band direct and alternating current electroencephalography at the scalp and direct and alternating current electrocorticography at the cortical surface. After subarachnoid haemorrhage, 275 slow potential changes, identifying spreading depolarizations, were recorded electrocorticographically over 694 h. Visual inspection of time-compressed scalp electroencephalography identified 193 (70.2%) slow potential changes [amplitude: −272 (−174, −375) µV (median quartiles), duration: 5.4 (4.0, 7.1) min, electrocorticography–electroencephalography delay: 1.8 (0.8, 3.5) min]. Intervals between successive spreading depolarizations were significantly shorter for depolarizations with electroencephalographically identified slow potential change [33.0 (27.0, 76.5) versus 53.0 (28.0, 130.5) min, P = 0.009]. Electroencephalography was thus more likely to display slow potential changes of clustered than isolated spreading depolarizations. In contrast to electrocorticography, no spread of electroencephalographic slow potential changes was seen, presumably due to superposition of volume-conducted electroencephalographic signals from widespread cortical generators. In two of five patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage, serial magnetic resonance imaging revealed large delayed infarcts at the recording site, while electrocorticography showed clusters of spreading depolarizations with persistent depression of spontaneous activity. Alternating current electroencephalography similarly displayed persistent depression of spontaneous activity, and direct current electroencephalography slow potential changes riding on a shallow negative ultraslow potential. Isolated spreading depolarizations with depression of both spontaneous electrocorticographic and electroencephalographic activity displayed significantly longer intervals between successive spreading depolarizations than isolated depolarizations with only depression of electrocorticographic activity [44.0 (28.0, 132.0) min, n = 96, versus 30.0 (26.5, 51.5) min, n = 109, P = 0.001]. This suggests fusion of electroencephalographic depression periods at high depolarization frequency. No propagation of electroencephalographic depression was seen between scalp electrodes. Durations/magnitudes of isolated electroencephalographic and corresponding electrocorticographic depression periods correlated significantly. Fewer spreading depolarizations were recorded in patients with malignant hemispheric stroke but characteristics were similar to those after subarachnoid haemorrhage. In conclusion, spreading depolarizations and depressions of spontaneous activity display correlates in time-compressed human scalp direct and alternating current electroencephalography that may serve for their non-invasive detection.
PMCID: PMC3286336  PMID: 22366798
subarachnoid haemorrhage; spreading depression; delayed cerebral ischaemia; electroencephalography; ischaemic stroke
2.  Spreading convulsions, spreading depolarization and epileptogenesis in human cerebral cortex 
Brain  2011;135(1):259-275.
Spreading depolarization of cells in cerebral grey matter is characterized by massive ion translocation, neuronal swelling and large changes in direct current-coupled voltage recording. The near-complete sustained depolarization above the inactivation threshold for action potential generating channels initiates spreading depression of brain activity. In contrast, epileptic seizures show modest ion translocation and sustained depolarization below the inactivation threshold for action potential generating channels. Such modest sustained depolarization allows synchronous, highly frequent neuronal firing; ictal epileptic field potentials being its electrocorticographic and epileptic seizure its clinical correlate. Nevertheless, Leão in 1944 and Van Harreveld and Stamm in 1953 described in animals that silencing of brain activity induced by spreading depolarization changed during minimal electrical stimulations. Eventually, epileptic field potentials were recorded during the period that had originally seen spreading depression of activity. Such spreading convulsions are characterized by epileptic field potentials on the final shoulder of the large slow potential change of spreading depolarization. We here report on such spreading convulsions in monopolar subdural recordings in 2 of 25 consecutive aneurismal subarachnoid haemorrhage patients in vivo and neocortical slices from 12 patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy in vitro. The in vitro results suggest that γ-aminobutyric acid-mediated inhibition protects from spreading convulsions. Moreover, we describe arterial pulse artefacts mimicking epileptic field potentials in three patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage that ride on the slow potential peak. Twenty-one of the 25 subarachnoid haemorrhage patients (84%) had 656 spreading depolarizations in contrast to only three patients (12%) with 55 ictal epileptic events isolated from spreading depolarizations. Spreading depolarization frequency and depression periods per 24 h recording episodes showed an early and a delayed peak on Day 7. Patients surviving subarachnoid haemorrhage with poor outcome at 6 months showed significantly higher total and peak numbers of spreading depolarizations and significantly longer total and peak depression periods during the electrocorticographic monitoring than patients with good outcome. In a semi-structured telephone interview 3 years after the initial haemorrhage, 44% of the subarachnoid haemorrhage survivors had developed late post-haemorrhagic seizures requiring anti-convulsant medication. In those patients, peak spreading depolarization number had been significantly higher [15.1 (11.4–30.8) versus 7.0 (0.8–11.2) events per day, P = 0.045]. In summary, monopolar recordings here provided unequivocal evidence of spreading convulsions in patients. Hence, practically all major pathological cortical network events in animals have now been observed in people. Early spreading depolarizations may indicate a risk for late post-haemorrhagic seizures.
PMCID: PMC3267981  PMID: 22120143
epilepsy; subarachnoid haemorrhage; spreading depression; spreading depolarization; delayed cerebral ischaemia
3.  Spreading depolarizations cycle around and enlarge focal ischaemic brain lesions 
Brain  2010;133(7):1994-2006.
How does infarction in victims of stroke and other types of acute brain injury expand to its definitive size in subsequent days? Spontaneous depolarizations that repeatedly spread across the cerebral cortex, sometimes at remarkably regular intervals, occur in patients with all types of injury. Here, we show experimentally with in vivo real-time imaging that similar, spontaneous depolarizations cycle repeatedly around ischaemic lesions in the cerebral cortex, and enlarge the lesion in step with each cycle. This behaviour results in regular periodicity of depolarization when monitored at a single point in the lesion periphery. We present evidence from clinical monitoring to suggest that depolarizations may cycle in the ischaemic human brain, perhaps explaining progressive growth of infarction. Despite their apparent detrimental role in infarct growth, we argue that cycling of depolarizations around lesions might also initiate upregulation of the neurobiological responses involved in repair and remodelling.
PMCID: PMC2892938  PMID: 20504874
focal brain ischaemia; stroke; spreading depression; peri-infarct depolarization; laser speckle imaging
4.  Cortical spreading ischaemia is a novel process involved in ischaemic damage in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage 
Brain  2009;132(7):1866-1881.
The term cortical spreading depolarization (CSD) describes a wave of mass neuronal depolarization associated with net influx of cations and water. Clusters of prolonged CSDs were measured time-locked to progressive ischaemic damage in human cortex. CSD induces tone alterations in resistance vessels, causing either transient hyperperfusion (physiological haemodynamic response) in healthy tissue; or hypoperfusion [inverse haemodynamic response = cortical spreading ischaemia (CSI)] in tissue at risk for progressive damage, which has so far only been shown experimentally. Here, we performed a prospective, multicentre study in 13 patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage, using novel subdural opto-electrode technology for simultaneous laser-Doppler flowmetry (LDF) and direct current-electrocorticography, combined with measurements of tissue partial pressure of oxygen (ptiO2). Regional cerebral blood flow and electrocorticography were simultaneously recorded in 417 CSDs. Isolated CSDs occurred in 12 patients and were associated with either physiological, absent or inverse haemodynamic responses. Whereas the physiological haemodynamic response caused tissue hyperoxia, the inverse response led to tissue hypoxia. Clusters of prolonged CSDs were measured in five patients in close proximity to structural brain damage as assessed by neuroimaging. Clusters were associated with CSD-induced spreading hypoperfusions, which were significantly longer in duration (up to 144 min) than those of isolated CSDs. Thus, oxygen depletion caused by the inverse haemodynamic response may contribute to the establishment of clusters of prolonged CSDs and lesion progression. Combined electrocorticography and perfusion monitoring also revealed a characteristic vascular signature that might be used for non-invasive detection of CSD. Low-frequency vascular fluctuations (LF-VF) (f < 0.1 Hz), detectable by functional imaging methods, are determined by the brain's resting neuronal activity. CSD provides a depolarization block of the resting activity, recorded electrophysiologically as spreading depression of high-frequency-electrocorticography activity. Accordingly, we observed a spreading suppression of LF-VF, which accompanied spreading depression of high-frequency-electrocorticography activity, independently of whether CSD was associated with a physiological, absent or inverse haemodynamic response. Spreading suppressions of LF-VF thus allow the differentiation of progressive ischaemia and repair phases in a fashion similar to that shown previously for spreading depressions of high-frequency-electrocorticography activity. In conclusion, it is suggested that (i) CSI is a novel human disease mechanism associated with lesion development and a potential target for therapeutic intervention in stroke; and that (ii) prolonged spreading suppressions of LF-VF are a novel ‘functional marker’ for progressive ischaemia.
PMCID: PMC2702835  PMID: 19420089
CSI; subarachnoid haemorrhage; cortical spreading depression; neurovascular coupling; default mode

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