by Willem M. Otte, Rick M. Dijkhuizen, Maurits P. A. van Meer, Wilhelmina S. van der Hel, Suzanne A. M. W. Verlinde, Onno van Nieuwenhuizen, Max A. Viergever, Cornelis J. Stam, Kees P.J. Braun
Although focal epilepsies are increasingly recognized to affect multiple and remote neural systems, the underlying spatiotemporal pattern and the relationships between recurrent spontaneous seizures, global functional connectivity, and structural integrity remain largely unknown. Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we utilized serial resting-state functional MRI, graph-theoretical analysis of complex brain networks and diffusion tensor imaging to characterize the evolution of global network topology, functional connectivity and structural changes in the interictal brain in relation to focal epilepsy in a rat model. Epileptic networks exhibited a more regular functional topology than controls, indicated by a significant increase in shortest path length and clustering coefficient. Interhemispheric functional connectivity in epileptic brains decreased, while intrahemispheric functional connectivity increased. Widespread reductions of fractional anisotropy were found in white matter regions not restricted to the vicinity of the epileptic focus, including the corpus callosum. Conclusions/Significance
Our longitudinal study on the pathogenesis of network dynamics in epileptic brains reveals that, despite the locality of the epileptogenic area, epileptic brains differ in their global network topology, connectivity and structural integrity from healthy brains.