Abnormal blood oxygen level‐dependent fluctuations and remote connectivity in sleep‐related hypermotor epilepsy

Objective

Sleep‐related hypermotor epilepsy (SHE) is a form of the epileptic syndrome that involves stereotyped hypermotor seizures and presents as asymmetric tonic or dystonic posturing events. We aimed to investigate the brain activities of SHE patients using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Methods

A total of 41 patients with SHE and 41 age‐ and sex‐matched healthy controls (HCs) were prospectively enrolled and assessed using fMRI. The two groups were compared in amplitude of low‐frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and regional homogeneity (ReHo), and potential correlations between these measures and clinical features were also examined. The involvement of functional network integration was explored by analyzing seed‐based functional connectivity.

Results

In SHE patients, ALFF in the right precentral gyrus was significantly higher than in HCs, and ReHo in the left postcentral and right precentral gyrus was higher. None of the brain regions had lower ALFF or ReHo compared to HCs. ReHo in the left postcentral gyrus and ALFF in the right precentral gyrus were both negatively correlated with epilepsy duration. Patients with SHE had higher functional connectivity mainly in the precuneus, postcentral gyrus, and supplementary motor area. However, none of the brain regions in SHE group presented lower functional connectivity than in HCs. SHE is associated with disrupted regional and interregional functional activities.

Conclusions

The patients showed abnormalities within the sensorimotor gyrus and supplementary motor area, suggesting spontaneous fluctuations correlated with remote functional brain network. These results at the whole‐brain level argue for further investigation into connectivity disturbance in SHE.

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