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Temporal lobe epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder with about 40% of patients not responding to pharmacological treatment. Increased cellular loss in the hippocampus is linked to disease severity and pathological phenotypes such as heightened seizure propensity. While the hippocampus is the target of therapeutic interventions such as temporal lobe resection, the impact of the disease at the cellular level remains unclear in humans. Here we show that properties of hippocampal granule cells change with disease progression as measured in living, resected hippocampal tissue excised from epilepsy patients. We show that granule cells increase excitability and shorten response latency while also enlarging in cellular volume, surface area and spine density. Single-cell RNA sequencing combined with simulations ascribe the observed electrophysiological changes to gradual modification in three key ion channel conductances: BK, Cav2.2 and Kir2.1. In a bio-realistic computational network model, we show that the changes related to disease progression bring the circuit into a more excitable state. In turn, we observe that by reversing these changes in the three key conductances produces a less excitable, early disease-like state. These results provide mechanistic understanding of epilepsy in humans and will inform future therapies such as viral gene delivery to reverse the course of the disorder. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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