Thalamus and Seizures—Here We Come Again…

Academic Article


  • Thalamus and Focal to Bilateral Seizures: A Multiscale Cognitive Imaging Study. Caciagli L, Allen AL, He X, et al. Neurology. 2020;95(17):e2427-e2441. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000010645 Objective: To investigate the functional correlates of recurrent secondarily generalized seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) using task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a framework to test for epilepsy-specific network rearrangements. Because the thalamus modulates propagation of temporal lobe onset seizures and promotes cortical synchronization during cognition, we hypothesized that occurrence of secondarily generalized seizures, that is, focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (FBTCS), would relate to thalamic dysfunction, altered connectivity, and whole-brain network centrality. Methods: Focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures occur in a third of patients with TLE and are a major determinant of disease severity. In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed 113 patients with drug-resistant TLE (55 left/58 right), who performed a verbal fluency fMRI task that elicited robust thalamic activation. Thirty-three (29%) patients had experienced at least one FBTCS in the year preceding the investigation. We compared patients with TLE-FBTCS to those without FBTCS via a multiscale approach, entailing analysis of statistical parametric mapping (SPM) 12–derived measures of activation, task-modulated thalamic functional connectivity (psychophysiologic interaction), and graph-theoretical metrics of centrality. Results: Individuals with TLE-FBTCS had less task-related activation of bilateral thalamus, with left-sided emphasis, and left hippocampus than those without FBTCS. In TLE-FBTCS, we also found greater task-related thalamo-temporal and thalamo-motor connectivity, and higher thalamic degree and betweenness centrality. Receiver operating characteristic curves, based on a combined thalamic functional marker, accurately discriminated individuals with and without FBTCS. Conclusions: In TLE-FBTCS, impaired task-related thalamic recruitment coexists with enhanced thalamo-temporal connectivity and whole-brain thalamic network embedding. Altered thalamic functional profiles are proposed as imaging biomarkers of active secondary generalization.
  • Published In

  • Epilepsy Currents  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Szaflarski JP
  • Start Page

  • 154
  • End Page

  • 156
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 3