The microanatomy of the human lateral temporal cortex removed from patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy was studied using correlative light and electron microscopic immunocytochemical methods for the localization of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV). PV immunostaining was mainly used to label a subpopulation of powerful cortical inhibitory interneurons that have been shown to be lost at epileptic foci in certain animal models of epilepsy. In the human neocortex with normal appearance, we identified the same local neuronal circuitry as in the normal monkey cortex, but in some regions of the same cortex, a fine disorganization of neuronal circuits (loss of inhibitory neurons and presumptive thalamocortical terminals) was found. This abnormal circuitry may interfere with normal cerebral activity in epileptic patients. These results also indicate that PV immunoreactivity can be a useful tool to study normal and abnormal synaptic circuits in the human cerebral cortex.

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