Neurology, CHU Grenoble, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.
This article attempts an overview of the clinical and electrophysiological evidence supporting the involvement of the basal ganglia in epileptic seizures. In contrast to animal data, evidence for a role of these structures in human epilepsies is lacking. However, from the theoretical point of view, it remains conceivable that, given their strong interconnectivity, basal ganglia could be functionally linked to the cerebral cortex during an epileptic seizure. Several clinical ictal aspects have been suggested to be compatible with the involvement of basal ganglia, namely, ictal dystonic posturing during temporal lobe seizures, rotatory seizures and paroxysmal dyskinesia-like seizures. On the other hand, basal ganglia dysfunction may also influence some aspects of epilepsy, as suggested by pure basal ganglia pathology such as Parkinson's disease, or the described effect of an acute basal ganglia lesion in epileptic patients. The data discussed in this review may stimulate further research to link basic scientific data to human epilepsies, and lead to the development of novel therapeutical solutions.