In Vivo Imaging of Neuroinflammatory Targets in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy

Academic Article


  • Purpose of Review: Recent evidence indicates that chronic, low-level neuroinflammation underlies epileptogenesis. Targeted imaging of key neuroinflammatory cells, receptors, and tissues may enable localizing epileptogenic onset zone, especially in those patients who are treatment-resistant and considered MRI-negative. Finding a specific, sensitive neuroimaging-based biomarker could aid surgical planning and improve overall prognosis in eligible patients. This article reviews recent research on in vivo imaging of neuroinflammatory targets in patients with treatment-resistant, non-lesional epilepsy. Recent Findings: A number of advanced approaches based on imaging neuroinflammation are being implemented in order to assist localization of epileptogenic onset zone. The most exciting tools are based on radioligand-based nuclear imaging or revisiting of existing technology in novel ways. The greatest limitations stem from gaps in knowledge about the exact function of neuroinflammatory targets (e.g., neurotoxic or neuroprotective). Further, lingering questions about each approach’s specificity, reliability, and sensitivity must be addressed, and clinical utility must be validated before any novel method is incorporated into mainstream clinical practice. Summary: Current applications of imaging neuroinflammation in humans are limited and underutilized, but offer hope for finding sensitive and specific neuroimaging-based biomarker(s). Future work necessitates appreciation of investigations to date, significant findings, and neuroinflammatory targets worth exploring further.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sharma AA; Szaflarski JP
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 4