© Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 International League Against Epilepsy. Summary Objective Aberrations in brain development may lead to dysplastic structures such as periventricular nodules. Although these abnormal collections of neurons are often associated with difficult-to-control seizure activity, there is little consensus regarding the epileptogenicity of the nodules themselves. Because one common treatment option is surgical resection of suspected epileptic nodules, it is important to determine whether these structures in fact give rise, or essentially contribute, to epileptic activities. Methods To study the excitability of aberrant nodules, we have examined c-fos activation in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures generated from an animal model of periventricular nodular heterotopia created by treating pregnant rats with methylazoxymethanol acetate. Using this preparation, we have also attempted to assess tissue excitability when the nodule is surgically removed from the culture. We then compared c-fos activation in this in vitro preparation to c-fos activation generated in an intact rat treated with kainic acid. Results Quantitative analysis of c-fos activation failed to show enhanced nodule excitability compared to neocortex or CA1 hippocampus. However, when we compared cultures with and without a nodule, presence of a nodule did affect the excitability of CA1 and cortex, at least as reflected in c-fos labeling. Surgical removal of the nodule did not result in a consistent decrease in excitability as reflected in the c-fos biomarker. Significance Our results from the organotypic culture were generally consistent with our observations on excitability in the intact rat - as seen not only with c-fos but also in previous electrophysiologic studies. At least in this model, the nodule does not appear to be responsible for enhanced excitability (or, presumably, seizure initiation). Excitability is different in tissue that contains a nodule, suggesting altered network function, perhaps reflecting the abnormal developmental pattern that gave rise to the nodule.