Dynamic gray matter and intrinsic activity changes after epilepsy surgery

Objectives

To explore the dynamic changes of gray matter volume and intrinsic brain activity following anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) in patients with unilateral mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) who achieved seizure‐free for 2 years.

Materials and Methods

High‐resolution T1‐weighted MRI and resting‐state functional MRI data were obtained in ten mTLE patients at five serial timepoints: before surgery, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery. The gray matter volume (GMV) and amplitude of low‐frequency fluctuations (ALFF) were compared among the five scans to depict the dynamic changes after ATL.

Results

After successful ATL, GMV decreased in several ipsilateral brain regions: ipsilateral insula, thalamus, and putamen showed gradual gray matter atrophy from 3 to 24 months, while ipsilateral superior temporal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, inferior occipital gyrus, caudate nucleus, lingual gyrus, and fusiform gyrus showed significant GMV decrease at 3 months follow‐up, without further changes. Ipsilateral insula showed gradual ALFF decrease from 3 to 24 months after surgery. Ipsilateral superior temporal gyrus showed ALFF decrease at 3 months follow‐up, without further changes. Ipsilateral thalamus and cerebellar vermis showed obvious ALFF increase after surgery.

Conclusions

Surgical resection may lead to a short‐term reduction of gray matter volume and intrinsic brain activity in neighboring regions, while the progressive gray matter atrophy may be due to possible intrinsic mechanism of mTLE. Dynamic ALFF changes provide evidence that disrupted focal spontaneous activities were reorganized after successful surgery.

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