Volumetric and Functional Activity Lateralization in Healthy Subjects and Patients with Focal Epilepsy: Initial Findings in a 7T MRI Study

Lisanne P. W. Canjels, Walter H. Backes, Tamar M. van Veenendaal, Marielle C. G. Vlooswijk, Paul A. M. Hofman, Albert P. Aldenkamp, Rob P. W. Rouhl, Jacobus F. A. Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 30% of the patients with focal epilepsy, an epileptogenic lesion cannot be visually detected with structural MRI. Ultra-high field MRI may be able to identify subtle pathology related to the epileptic focus. We set out to assess 7T MRI-derived volumetric and functional activity lateralization of the hippocampus, hippocampal subfields, temporal and frontal lobe in healthy subjects and MRI-negative patients with focal epilepsy.

METHODS Twenty controls and 10 patients with MRI-negative temporal or frontal lobe epilepsy (TLE and FLE, respectively) underwent a 7T MRI exam. T-1-weigthed imaging and resting-state fMRI was performed. T-1-weighted images were segmented to yield volumes, while from fMRI data, the fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations was calculated. Subsequently, volumetric and functional lateralization was calculated from left-right asymmetry.

RESULTS In controls, volumetric lateralization was symmetric, with a slight asymmetry of the hippocampus and subiculum, while functional lateralization consistently showed symmetry. Contrarily, in epilepsy patients, regions were less symmetric. In TLE patients with known focus, volumetric lateralization in the hippocampus and hippocampal subfields was indicative of smaller ipsilateral volumes. These patients also showed clear functional lateralization, though not consistently ipsilateral or contralateral to the epileptic focus. TLE patients with unknown focus showed an obvious volumetric lateralization, facilitating the localization of the epileptic focus. Lateralization results in the FLE patients were less consistent with the epileptic focus.

CONCLUSION MRI-derived volume and fluctuation amplitude are highly symmetric in controls, whereas in TLE, volumetric and functional lateralization effects were observed. This highlights the potential of the technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • 7T
  • fMRI
  • hippocampus
  • lateralization
  • volumes
  • FMRI

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