[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The relationship between neuronal activity and hemodynamic changes plays a central role in functional neuroimaging. Under normal conditions and in neurological disorders such as epilepsy, it is commonly assumed that increased functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals reflect increased neuronal activity and that fMRI decreases represent neuronal activity decreases. Recent work suggests that these assumptions usually hold true in the cerebral cortex. However, less is known about the basis of fMRI signals from subcortical structures such as the thalamus and basal ganglia. We used WAG/Rij rats (Wistar albino Glaxo rats of Rijswijk), an established animal model of human absence epilepsy, to perform fMRI studies with blood oxygen level-dependent and cerebral blood volume (CBV) contrasts at 9.4 tesla, as well as laser Doppler cerebral blood flow (CBF), local field potential (LFP), and multiunit activity (MUA) recordings. We found that, during spike-wave discharges, the somatosensory cortex and thalamus showed increased fMRI, CBV, CBF, LFP, and MUA signals. However, the caudate-putamen showed fMRI, CBV, and CBF decreases despite increases in LFP and MUA signals. Similarly, during normal whisker stimulation, the cortex and thalamus showed increases in CBF and MUA, whereas the caudate-putamen showed decreased CBF with increased MUA. These findings suggest that neuroimaging-related signals and electrophysiology tend to agree in the cortex and thalamus but disagree in the caudate-putamen. These opposite changes in vascular and electrical activity indicate that caution should be applied when interpreting fMRI signals in both health and disease from the caudate-putamen, as well as possibly from other subcortical structures.
Journal of Neuroscience 10/2011; 31(42):15053-64. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impaired consciousness requires altered cortical function. This can occur either directly from disorders that impair widespread bilateral regions of the cortex or indirectly through effects on subcortical arousal systems. It has therefore long been puzzling why focal temporal lobe seizures so often impair consciousness. Early work suggested that altered consciousness may occur with bilateral or dominant temporal lobe seizure involvement. However, other bilateral temporal lobe disorders do not impair consciousness. More recent work supports a 'network inhibition hypothesis' in which temporal lobe seizures disrupt brainstem-diencephalic arousal systems, leading indirectly to depressed cortical function and impaired consciousness. Indeed, prior studies show subcortical involvement in temporal lobe seizures and bilateral frontoparietal slow wave activity on intracranial electroencephalography. However, the relationships between frontoparietal slow waves and impaired consciousness and between cortical slowing and fast seizure activity have not been directly investigated. We analysed intracranial electroencephalography recordings during 63 partial seizures in 26 patients with surgically confirmed mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Behavioural responsiveness was determined based on blinded review of video during seizures and classified as impaired (complex-partial seizures) or unimpaired (simple-partial seizures). We observed significantly increased delta-range 1-2 Hz slow wave activity in the bilateral frontal and parietal neocortices during complex-partial compared with simple-partial seizures. In addition, we confirmed prior work suggesting that propagation of unilateral mesial temporal fast seizure activity to the bilateral temporal lobes was significantly greater in complex-partial than in simple-partial seizures. Interestingly, we found that the signal power of frontoparietal slow wave activity was significantly correlated with the temporal lobe fast seizure activity in each hemisphere. Finally, we observed that complex-partial seizures were somewhat more common with onset in the language-dominant temporal lobe. These findings provide direct evidence for cortical dysfunction in the form of bilateral frontoparietal slow waves associated with impaired consciousness in temporal lobe seizures. We hypothesize that bilateral temporal lobe seizures may exert a powerful inhibitory effect on subcortical arousal systems. Further investigations will be needed to fully determine the role of cortical-subcortical networks in ictal neocortical dysfunction and may reveal treatments to prevent this important negative consequence of temporal lobe epilepsy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Absence seizures cause transient impairment of consciousness. Typical absence seizures occur in children, and are accompanied by 3-4-Hz spike-wave discharges (SWDs) on electroencephalography (EEG). Prior EEG-functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of SWDs have shown a network of cortical and subcortical changes during these electrical events. However, fMRI during typical childhood absence seizures with confirmed impaired consciousness has not been previously investigated.
We performed EEG-fMRI with simultaneous behavioral testing in 37 children with typical childhood absence epilepsy (CAE). Attentional vigilance was evaluated by a continuous performance task (CPT), and simpler motor performance was evaluated by a repetitive tapping task (RTT).
SWD episodes were obtained during fMRI scanning from 9 patients among the 37 studied. fMRI signal increases during SWDs were observed in the thalamus, frontal cortex, primary visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor cortex, and fMRI decreases were seen in the lateral and medial parietal cortex, cingulate gyrus, and basal ganglia. Omission error rate (missed targets) with SWDs during fMRI was 81% on CPT and 39% on RTT. For those seizure epochs during which CPT performance was impaired, fMRI changes were seen in cortical and subcortical structures typically involved in SWDs, whereas minimal changes were observed for the few epochs during which performance was spared.
These findings suggest that typical absence seizures involve a network of cortical-subcortical areas necessary for normal attention and primary information processing. Identification of this network may improve understanding of cognitive impairments in CAE, and may help guide development of new therapies for this disorder.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with epilepsy are at risk of traffic accidents when they have seizures while driving. However, driving is an essential part of normal daily life in many communities, and depriving patients of driving privileges can have profound consequences for their economic and social well-being. In the current study, we collected ictal performance data from a driving simulator and two other video games in patients undergoing continuous video/EEG monitoring. We captured 22 seizures in 13 patients and found that driving impairment during seizures differed in terms of both magnitude and character, depending on the seizure type. Our study documents the feasibility of a prospective study of driving and other behaviors during seizures through the use of computer-based tasks. This methodology may be applied to further describe differential driving impairment in specific types of seizures and to gain data on anatomical networks disrupted in seizures that impair consciousness and driving safety.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generalized tonic-clonic seizures cause widespread physiological changes throughout the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures in the brain. Using combined blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 9.4 T and electroencephalography (EEG), these changes can be characterized with high spatiotemporal resolution. We studied BOLD changes in anesthetized Wistar rats during bicuculline-induced tonic-clonic seizures. Bicuculline, a GABA(A) receptor antagonist, was injected systemically and seizure activity was observed on EEG as high-amplitude, high-frequency polyspike discharges followed by clonic paroxysmal activity of lower frequency, with mean electrographic seizure duration of 349 s. Our aim was to characterize the spatial localization, direction, and timing of BOLD signal changes during the pre-ictal, ictal and post-ictal periods. Group analysis was performed across seizures using paired t-maps of BOLD signal superimposed on high-resolution anatomical images. Regional analysis was then performed using volumes of interest to quantify BOLD timecourses. In the pre-ictal period we found focal BOLD increases in specific areas of somatosensory cortex (S1, S2) and thalamus several seconds before seizure onset. During seizures we observed BOLD increases in cortex, brainstem and thalamus and BOLD decreases in the hippocampus. The largest ictal BOLD increases remained in the focal regions of somatosensory cortex showing pre-ictal increases. During the post-ictal period we observed widespread BOLD decreases. These findings support a model in which "generalized" tonic-clonic seizures begin with focal changes before electrographic seizure onset, which progress to non-uniform changes during seizures, possibly shedding light on the etiology and pathophysiology of similar seizures in humans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Absence epilepsy is a common seizure disorder in children which can produce chronic psychosocial sequelae. Human patients and rat absence models show bilateral spike-wave discharges (SWD) in cortical regions. We employed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in rat absence models to detect abnormalities in white matter pathways connecting regions of seizure activity.
We studied Wistar albino Glaxo rats of Rijswijk (WAG/Rij), genetic absence epilepsy rats of Strasbourg (GAERS), and corresponding nonepileptic control strains. Ex vivo DTI was performed at 9.4 T with diffusion gradients applied in 16 orientations. We compared fractional anisotropy (FA), perpendicular (lambda(perpendicular)) and parallel (lambda(||)) diffusivity between groups using t-maps and region of interest (ROI) measurements.
Adult epileptic WAG/Rij rats exhibited a localized decrease in FA in the anterior corpus callosum. This area was confirmed by tractography to interconnect somatosensory cortex regions most intensely involved in seizures. This FA decrease was not present in young WAG/Rij rats before onset of SWD. GAERS, which have more severe SWD than WAG/Rij, exhibited even more pronounced callosal FA decreases. Reduced FA in the epileptic animals originated from an increased lambda(perpendicular) with no significant changes in lambda(||).
Reduced FA with increased lambda(perpendicular) suggests that chronic seizures cause reduction in myelin or decreased axon fiber density in white matter pathways connecting regions of seizure activity. These DTI abnormalities may improve the understanding of chronic neurological difficulties in children suffering with absence epilepsy, and may also serve as a noninvasive biomarker for monitoring beneficial effects of treatment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are among the most dramatic physiological events in the nervous system. The brain regions involved during partial seizures with secondary generalization have not been thoroughly investigated in humans. We used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to image cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes in 59 secondarily generalized seizures from 53 patients. Images were analysed using statistical parametric mapping to detect cortical and subcortical regions most commonly affected in three different time periods: (i) during the partial seizure phase prior to generalization; (ii) during the generalization period; and (iii) post-ictally. We found that in the pre-generalization period, there were focal CBF increases in the temporal lobe on group analysis, reflecting the most common region of partial seizure onset. During generalization, individual patients had focal CBF increases in variable regions of the cerebral cortex. Group analysis during generalization revealed that the most consistent increase occurred in the superior medial cerebellum, thalamus and basal ganglia. Post-ictally, there was a marked progressive CBF increase in the cerebellum which spread to involve the bilateral lateral cerebellar hemispheres, as well as CBF increases in the midbrain and basal ganglia. CBF decreases were seen in the fronto-parietal association cortex, precuneus and cingulate gyrus during and following seizures, similar to the 'default mode' regions reported previously to show decreased activity in seizures and in normal behavioural tasks. Analysis of patient behaviour during and following seizures showed impaired consciousness at the time of SPECT tracer injections. Correlation analysis across patients demonstrated that cerebellar CBF increases were related to increases in the upper brainstem and thalamus, and to decreases in the fronto-parietal association cortex. These results reveal a network of cortical and subcortical structures that are most consistently involved in secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Abnormal increased activity in subcortical structures (cerebellum, basal ganglia, brainstem and thalamus), along with decreased activity in the association cortex may be crucial for motor manifestations and for impaired consciousness in tonic-clonic seizures. Understanding the networks involved in generalized tonic-clonic seizures can provide insights into mechanisms of behavioural changes, and may elucidate targets for improved therapies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Partial seizures produce increased cerebral blood flow in the region of seizure onset. These regional cerebral blood flow increases can be detected by single photon emission computed tomography (ictal SPECT), providing a useful clinical tool for seizure localization. However, when partial seizures secondarily generalize, there are often questions of interpretation since propagation of seizures could produce ambiguous results. Ictal SPECT from secondarily generalized seizures has not been thoroughly investigated. We analysed ictal SPECT from 59 secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures obtained during epilepsy surgery evaluation in 53 patients. Ictal versus baseline interictal SPECT difference analysis was performed using ISAS (http://spect.yale.edu). SPECT injection times were classified based on video/EEG review as either pre-generalization, during generalization or in the immediate post-ictal period. We found that in the pre-generalization and generalization phases, ictal SPECT showed significantly more regions of cerebral blood flow increases than in partial seizures without secondary generalization. This made identification of a single unambiguous region of seizure onset impossible 50% of the time with ictal SPECT in secondarily generalized seizures. However, cerebral blood flow increases on ictal SPECT correctly identified the hemisphere (left versus right) of seizure onset in 84% of cases. In addition, when a single unambiguous region of cerebral blood flow increase was seen on ictal SPECT, this was the correct localization 80% of the time. In agreement with findings from partial seizures without secondary generalization, cerebral blood flow increases in the post-ictal period and cerebral blood flow decreases during or following seizures were not useful for localizing seizure onset. Interestingly, however, cerebral blood flow hypoperfusion during the generalization phase (but not pre-generalization) was greater on the side opposite to seizure onset in 90% of patients. These findings suggest that, with appropriate cautious interpretation, ictal SPECT in secondarily generalized seizures can help localize the region of seizure onset.