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Neuroimage Clin. 2017 Jul 24;16:132-141. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2017.07.013. eCollection 2017.

Resting-state functional connectivity changes due to acute and short-term valproic acid administration in the baboon model of GGE.

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Research Imaging Institute, UT Health, San Antonio, United States.
South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX, United States.
Department of Neurology, UT Health, San Antonio, United States.
South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, UT Health, San Antonio, United States.


Resting-state functional connectivity (FC) is altered in baboons with genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) compared to healthy controls (CTL). We compared FC changes between GGE and CTL groups after intravenous injection of valproic acid (VPA) and following one-week of orally administered VPA. Seven epileptic (2 females) and six CTL (3 females) baboons underwent resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) at 1) baseline, 2) after intravenous acute VPA administration (20 mg/kg), and 3) following seven-day oral, subacute VPA therapy (20-80 mg/kg/day). FC was evaluated using a data-driven approach, while regressing out the group-wise effects of age, gender and VPA levels. Sixteen networks were identified by independent component analysis (ICA). Each network mask was thresholded (z > 4.00; p < 0.001), and used to compare group-wise FC differences between baseline, intravenous and oral VPA treatment states between GGE and CTL groups. At baseline, FC was increased in most cortical networks of the GGE group but decreased in the thalamic network. After intravenous acute VPA, FC increased in the basal ganglia network and decreased in the parietal network of epileptic baboons to presumed nodes associated with the epileptic network. After oral VPA therapy, FC was decreased in GGE baboons only the orbitofrontal networks connections to the primary somatosensory cortices, reflecting a reversal from baseline comparisons. VPA therapy affects FC in the baboon model of GGE after a single intravenous dose-possibly by facilitating subcortical modulation of the epileptic network and suppressing seizure generation-and after short-term oral VPA treatment, reversing the abnormal baseline increases in FC in the orbitofrontal network. While there is a need to correlate these FC changes with simultaneous EEG recording and seizure outcomes, this study demonstrates the feasibility of evaluating rs-fMRI effects of antiepileptic medications even after short-term exposure.


Animal models; Functional connectivity; Genetic generalized epilepsy; Resting-state fMRI; Treatment effects

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