Microstructural alterations seen in the epileptic cortex have been implicated as a cause and also result of multiple seizure activity. In the present study, we evaluated water diffusion changes at different cortical thickness fractions and in the underlying white matter of the epileptic cortex and compared them with electrographically normal cortex and also with corresponding cortical regions of healthy controls.
We selected 18 children with normal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) who underwent two-stage epilepsy surgery to control seizures of neocortical origin, and compared their MR images with those of 18 age-matched healthy controls. First, delineation of the gray-white and gray-pial intersection surfaces was performed on high-resolution volumetric T1 MR images. Using the delineated surfaces as reference, diffusion values were measured at different cortical thickness fractions and in the underlying white matter at various depths, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Cortical regions representing seizure onset and electrographically normal cortex were differentiated by electrocorticography in the epilepsy patients.
We observed different patterns of diffusion abnormalities in both the seizure onset and electrographically normal cortical regions when compared to healthy controls. In the seizure-onset regions, a marked increase in diffusivity was noted in the cortical gray matter, and this increase was most pronounced in the outer fraction of the gray matter. Similarly, increased diffusivity was noted in the white matter underlying the epileptic cortex. The electrographically normal cortex, in contrast, showed decreased diffusivity in inner and middle cortical fractions compared to the controls. The white matter underlying the electrographically normal cortex did not show any difference in diffusivity between the children with epilepsy and controls. Finally, both the cortical gray matter and the underlying white matter regions showed decreased anisotropy in epileptic as well as electrographically normal regions when compared to controls.
Our results suggest specific patterns of diffusion changes in the cortical fractions and the underlying white matter of the epileptic region compared to electrographically normal and normal control regions. The abnormal increase in diffusivity of the superficial cortex might be associated with microstructural abnormalities commonly seen in layers II through IV of epileptic cortex. Such combined use of a high-resolution structural image to extract the laminar diffusion values, which are highly sensitive to microstructural alterations, could be of clinical value in localizing epileptogenic cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epilepsy is characterized by recurrent seizure activity that can induce pathological reorganization and alter normal function in neocortical networks. In the present study, we determined the numbers of cells and neurons across the complete extent of the cortex for two epileptic baboons with naturally occurring seizures and two baboons without epilepsy. Overall, the two epileptic baboons had a 37% average reduction in the number of cortical neurons compared with the two nonepileptic baboons. The loss of neurons was variable across cortical areas, with the most pronounced loss in the primary motor cortex, especially in lateral primary motor cortex, representing the hand and face. Less-pronounced reductions of neurons were found in other parts of the frontal cortex and in somatosensory cortex, but no reduction was apparent in the primary visual cortex and little in other visual areas. The results provide clear evidence that epilepsy in the baboon is associated with considerable reduction in the numbers of cortical neurons, especially in frontal areas of the cortex related to motor functions. Whether or not the reduction of neurons is a cause or an effect of seizures needs further investigation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; 110(47). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1318894110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Verbal memory is the most commonly impaired cognitive domain in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Although damage to the hippocampus and adjacent temporal lobe structures is known to contribute to memory impairment, little is known of the relative contributions of white versus gray matter structures, or whether microstructural versus morphometric measures of temporal lobe pathology are stronger predictors of impairment. We evaluate whether measures of temporal lobe pathology derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI; microstructural) versus structural MRI (sMRI; morphometric) contribute the most to memory performances in TLE, after controlling for hippocampal volume (HCV). DTI and sMRI were performed on 26 patients with TLE and 35 controls. Verbal memory was measured with the Logical Memory subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale–III. Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to examine unique contributions of DTI and sMRI measures to verbal memory with HCV entered in block 1. In patients, impaired recall was associated with increased mean diffusivity (MD) of multiple fiber tracts that project through the temporal lobes. In addition, increased MD of the left cortical and bilateral pericortical white matter was associated with impaired recall. After controlling for left HCV, only microstructural measures of white matter pathology contributed to verbal recall. The best predictive model included left HCV and MD of the left inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) and pericortical white matter beneath the left entorhinal cortex. This model explained 60% of the variance in delayed recall and revealed that MD of the left ILF was the strongest predictor. These data reveal that white matter microstructure within the temporal lobe can be used in conjunction with left HCV to enhance the prediction of verbal memory impairment, and speak to the complementary nature of DTI and sMRI for understanding cognitive dysfunction in epilepsy and possibly other memory disorders.
Victor M. Tang, Donna J. Lang, Chantelle J. Giesbrecht, William J. Panenka, Taylor Willi, Ric M. Procyshyn, Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, Willough Jenkins, Tania Lecomte, Heidi N. Boyda, Ana Aleksic, G. William MacEwan, William G. Honer, Alasdair M. Barr
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