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Epilepsia. 2002 Oct;43(10):1210-6.

Reduced extrahippocampal NAA in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.

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Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Medical Center, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Unit, University of California San Francisco, California 94143-0138, USA.



Structural and metabolic abnormalities in the hippocampal region in medial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) are well described; less is known about extrahippocampal changes. This study was designed to characterize extrahippocampal metabolic abnormalities in mTLE with magnetic resonance spectroscopy in combination with tissue segmentation and volumetry of gray and white matter.


Multislice magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI) in combination with tissue segmentation was performed on 16 patients with mTLE and 12 age-matched healthy volunteers. The data were analyzed by using a regression-analysis model that estimated the metabolite concentrations in 100% cortical gray and 100% white matter in the frontal lobe and nonfrontal brain. The segmented image was used to calculate the fraction of gray and white matter in these regions.


mTLE had significantly lower N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) in ipsi- and contralateral frontal gray (p = 0.03) and in ipsi- and contralateral nonfrontal white matter (p = 0.008) compared with controls. Although there were no associated volumetric deficits in frontal gray and white matter, ipsilateral nonfrontal gray matter (p = 0.003) was significantly smaller than that in controls.


mTLE is associated with extrahippocampal metabolic abnormalities and volumetric deficits, but these do not necessarily affect the same regions.

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