Neuronal synchrony and critical bistability : Mechanistic biomarkers for localizing the epileptogenic network

Sheng H. Wang*, Gabriele Arnulfo, Lino Nobili, Vladislav Myrov, Paul Ferrari, Philippe Ciuciu, Satu Palva, J. Matias Palva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Objective: Postsurgical seizure freedom in drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) patients varies from 30% to 80%, implying that in many cases the current approaches fail to fully map the epileptogenic zone (EZ). We aimed to advance a novel approach to better characterize epileptogenicity and investigate whether the EZ encompasses a broader epileptogenic network (EpiNet) beyond the seizure zone (SZ) that exhibits seizure activity. Methods: We first used computational modeling to test putative complex systems-driven and systems neuroscience-driven mechanistic biomarkers for epileptogenicity. We then used these biomarkers to extract features from resting-state stereoelectroencephalograms recorded from DRE patients and trained supervised classifiers to localize the SZ against gold standard clinical localization. To further explore the prevalence of pathological features in an extended brain network outside of the clinically identified SZ, we also used unsupervised classification. Results: Supervised SZ classification trained on individual features achieved accuracies of.6–.7 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). Combining all criticality and synchrony features further improved the AUC to.85. Unsupervised classification discovered an EpiNet-like cluster of brain regions, in which 51% of brain regions were outside of the SZ. Brain regions in the EpiNet-like cluster engaged in interareal hypersynchrony and locally exhibited high-amplitude bistability and excessive inhibition, which was strikingly similar to the high seizure risk regime revealed by our computational modeling. Significance: The finding that combining biomarkers improves SZ localization accuracy indicates that the novel mechanistic biomarkers for epileptogenicity employed here yield synergistic information. On the other hand, the discovery of SZ-like brain dynamics outside of the clinically defined SZ provides empirical evidence of an extended pathophysiological EpiNet.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bistability
  • classification
  • criticality
  • epileptogenic zone
  • synchrony


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