Cortical remodeling before and after successful temporal lobe epilepsy surgery

Objectives

To explore dynamic alterations of cortical thickness before and after successful anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) in patients with unilateral mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE).

Materials and Methods

High-resolution T1-weighted MRI was obtained in 28 mTLE patients who achieved seizure freedom for at least 24 months after ATL and 29 healthy controls. Patients were scanned at five timepoints, including before surgery, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery. Preoperative cortical thickness of mTLE patients were compared with healthy controls. Dynamic alterations of cortical thickness before and after surgery were compared among five scans using linear mixed models.

Results

Patients with mTLE showed cortical thinning pre-surgically in ipsilateral entorhinal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, inferior parietal cortex, lateral occipital cortex; contralateral pericalcarine cortex (PCC); and bilateral caudal middle frontal gyrus (cMFG), paracentral lobule, precentral gyrus (PCG), superior parietal cortex. Cortical thickening was observed in contralateral rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC). Patients showed postsurgical cortical thinning in ipsilateral temporal lobe, fusiform gyrus, caudal anterior cingulate cortex, lingual gyrus, and insula. Ipsilateral cMFG, PCC, and contralateral PCG showed significant cortical thickening after surgery. In addition, contralateral rACC showed cortical thickening at 3 months follow-up, however, with obvious cortical thinning at 24 months follow-up.

Conclusions

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy patients showed widespread cortical thinning before and after anterior temporal lobectomy. Progressive cortical thinning mainly existed in neighboring regions of resection. Postoperative cortical thickening may indicate cortical remodeling after successful surgery.

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