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Epilepsia. 2001 Dec;42(12):1507-14.

Proton spectroscopic imaging shows abnormalities in glial and neuronal cell pools in frontal lobe epilepsy.

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Department of Radiology, Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH), Helsinki, Finland.



Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H MRSI) can lateralize the epileptogenic frontal lobe by detecting metabolic ratio abnormalities in frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE). We used 1H MRS to lateralize and localize the epileptogenic focus, and we also sought to characterize further the metabolic abnormality in FLE.


We measured signals from N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline-containing compounds (Cho), and creatine + phosphocreatine (Cr) in the supraventricular brain of 14 patients with frontal or frontoparietal epilepsy and their matched controls. The supratentorial brain also was segmented into gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid classes. Regional metabolite alterations were compared with localizing and lateralizing results from other examination modalities and with histology from three patients.


Spectroscopy lateralized the epileptogenic focus in 10 patients in agreement with video-EEG and functional imaging. In four patients, spectroscopy showed bilateral, focal metabolic abnormality, whereas video-EEG suggested unilateral or midline abnormality. In the epileptogenic focus, Cho and Cr were increased by 23% and 14%, respectively, and NAA was decreased by 11%, suggesting metabolic disturbances both in the glial and in the neuronal cell pools. Two Taylor dysplasia lesions confirmed by histology and one with radiologic diagnosis showed high Cho and low or normal NAA, whereas two dysembryoplastic neurogenic tumors had normal Cho and low NAA. Contralateral hemisphere NAA/(Cho + Cr) was decreased in FLE, indicating diffusely altered brain metabolism. Segmentation of brain tissue did not reveal atrophic changes in FLE.


Spectroscopy is useful in lateralizing frontoparietal epilepsy and shows promise as a "noninvasive biopsy" in epileptogenic lesions.

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