Closed-loop stimulation of the medial septum terminates epileptic seizures

Temporal lobe epilepsy with distributed hippocampal seizure foci is often intractable and its secondary generalization might lead to sudden death. Early termination through spatially extensive hippocampal intervention is not feasible directly, because of the large size and irregular shape of the hippocampus. In contrast, the medial septum is a promising target to govern hippocampal oscillations through its divergent connections to both hippocampi. Combining this ‘proxy intervention’ concept and precisely timed stimulation, we report here that closed-loop medial septum electrical stimulation can quickly terminate intrahippocampal seizures and suppress secondary generalization in a rat kindling model. Precise stimulus timing governed by internal seizure rhythms was essential. Cell type-specific stimulation revealed that the precisely timed activation of medial septum GABAergic neurons underlaid the effects. Our concept of time-targeted proxy stimulation for intervening pathological oscillations can be extrapolated to other neurological and psychiatric disorders, and has potential for clinical translation.