Altered neocortical oscillations and cellular excitability in an in vitro Wwox knockout mouse model of epileptic encephalopathy

Vanessa L. Breton*, Mark S. Aquilino, Srinivasarao Repudi, Afifa Saleem, Shanthini Mylvaganam, Sara Abu-Swai, Berj L. Bardakjian, Rami I. Aqeilan, Peter L. Carlen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Loss of function mutations of the WW domain-containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) gene are associated with severe and fatal drug-resistant pediatric epileptic encephalopathy. Epileptic seizures are typically characterized by neuronal hyperexcitability; however, the specific contribution of WWOX to that hyperexcitability has yet to be investigated. Using a mouse model of neuronal Wwox-deletion that exhibit spontaneous seizures, in vitro whole-cell and field potential electrophysiological characterization identified spontaneous bursting activity in the neocortex, a marker of the underlying network hyperexcitability. Spectral analysis of the neocortical bursting events highlighted increased phase-amplitude coupling, and a propagation from layer II/III to layer V. These bursts were NMDAR and gap junction dependent. In layer II/III pyramidal neurons, Wwox knockout mice demonstrated elevated amplitude of excitatory post-synaptic currents, whereas the frequency and amplitude of inhibitory post-synaptic currents were reduced, as compared to heterozygote and wild-type littermate controls. Furthermore, these neurons were depolarized and demonstrated increased action potential frequency, sag current, and post-inhibitory rebound. These findings suggest WWOX plays an essential role in balancing neocortical excitability and provide insight towards developing therapeutics for those suffering from WWOX disorders.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105529
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Coupling
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy
  • NMDA
  • WWOX


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