White matter alterations in MR-negative temporal and frontal lobe epilepsy using fixel-based analysis

Bartoňová M, Tournier JD, Bartoň M, Říha P, Vojtíšek L, Mareček R, Doležalová I, Rektor I.

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 2;13(1):19. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-27233-4. PMID: 36593331; PMCID: PMC9807578.


6 Jan 2023

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This study focuses on white matter alterations in pharmacoresistant epilepsy patients with no visible lesions in the temporal and frontal lobes on clinical MRI (i.e. MR-negative) with lesions confirmed by resective surgery. The aim of the study was to extend the knowledge about group-specific neuropathology in MR-negative epilepsy. We used the fixel-based analysis (FBA) that overcomes the limitations of traditional diffusion tensor image analysis, mainly within-voxel averaging of multiple crossing fibres. Group-wise comparisons of fixel parameters between healthy controls (N = 100) and: (1) frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE) patients (N = 9); (2) temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients (N = 13) were performed. A significant decrease of the cross-section area of the fixels in the superior longitudinal fasciculus was observed in the FLE. Results in TLE reflected widespread atrophy of limbic, thalamic, and cortico-striatal connections and tracts directly connected to the temporal lobe (such as the anterior commissure, inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus, splenium of corpus callosum, and cingulum bundle). Alterations were also observed in extratemporal connections (brainstem connection, commissural fibres, and parts of the superior longitudinal fasciculus). To our knowledge, this is the first study to use an advanced FBA method not only on the datasets of MR-negative TLE patients, but also MR-negative FLE patients, uncovering new common tract-specific alterations on the group level.

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