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Epilepsia. 2012 Jan;53(1):25-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03333.x. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

Gray matter loss correlates with mesial temporal lobe neuronal hyperexcitability inside the human seizure-onset zone.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA. rstaba@mednet.ucla.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Patient studies have not provided consistent evidence for interictal neuronal hyperexcitability inside the seizure-onset zone (SOZ). We hypothesized that gray matter (GM) loss could have important effects on neuronal firing, and quantifying these effects would reveal significant differences in neuronal firing inside versus outside the SOZ.

METHODS:

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational unfolding of mesial temporal lobe (MTL) subregions was used to construct anatomic maps to compute GM loss in presurgical patients with medically intractable focal seizures in relation to controls. In patients, these same maps were used to locate the position of microelectrodes that recorded interictal neuronal activity. Single neuron firing and burst rates were evaluated in relation to GM loss and MTL subregions inside and outside the SOZ.

KEY FINDINGS:

MTL GM thickness was reduced inside and outside the SOZ in patients with respect to controls, yet GM loss was associated more strongly with firing and burst rates in several MTL subregions inside the SOZ. Adjusting single neuron firing and burst rates for the effects of GM loss revealed significantly higher firing rates in the subregion consisting of dentate gyrus and CA2 and CA3 (CA23DG), as well as CA1 and entorhinal cortex (EC) inside versus outside the SOZ where normalized MRI GM loss was ≥1.40 mm. Firing rates were higher in subicular cortex inside the SOZ at GM loss ≥1.97 mm, whereas burst rates were higher in CA23DG, CA1, and EC inside than outside the SOZ at similar levels of GM loss.

SIGNIFICANCE:

The correlation between GM loss and increased firing and burst rates suggests GM structural alterations in MTL subregions are associated with interictal neuronal hyperexcitability inside the SOZ. Significant differences in firing rates and bursting in areas with GM loss inside compared to outside the SOZ indicate that synaptic reorganization following cell loss could be associated with varying degrees of epileptogenicity in patients with intractable focal seizures.

Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2011 International League Against Epilepsy.

PMID:
22126325
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3253228
Free PMC Article
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