The effect of interictal epileptic discharges and following spindles on motor sequence learning in epilepsy patients

Toshiki Okadome, Takahiro Yamaguchi, Takahiko Mukaino, Ayumi Sakata, Katsuya Ogata, Hiroshi Shigeto, Noriko Isobe, Taira Uehara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) are known to affect cognitive function in patients with epilepsy, but the mechanism has not been elucidated. Sleep spindles appearing in synchronization with IEDs were recently demonstrated to impair memory consolidation in rat, but this has not been investigated in humans. On the other hand, the increase of sleep spindles at night after learning is positively correlated with amplified learning effects during sleep for motor sequence learning. In this study, we examined the effects of IEDs and IED-coupled spindles on motor sequence learning in patients with epilepsy, and clarified their pathological significance. Materials and methods: Patients undergoing long-term video-electroencephalography (LT-VEEG) at our hospital from June 2019 to November 2021 and age-matched healthy subjects were recruited. Motor sequence learning consisting of a finger-tapping task was performed before bedtime and the next morning, and the improvement rate of performance was defined as the sleep-dependent learning effect. We searched for factors associated with the changes in learning effect observed between the periods of when antiseizure medications (ASMs) were withdrawn for LT-VEEG and when they were returned to usual doses after LT-VEEG. Results: Excluding six patients who had epileptic seizures at night after learning, nine patients and 11 healthy subjects were included in the study. In the patient group, there was no significant learning effect when ASMs were withdrawn. The changes in learning effect of the patient group during ASM withdrawal were not correlated with changes in sleep duration or IED density; however, they were significantly negatively correlated with changes in IED-coupled spindle density. Conclusion: We found that the increase of IED-coupled spindles correlated with the decrease of sleep-dependent learning effects of procedural memory. Pathological IED-coupled sleep spindles could hinder memory consolidation, that is dependent on physiological sleep spindles, resulting in cognitive dysfunction in patients with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number979333
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 10 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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