Automated Subfield Volumetric Analysis of Amygdala, Hippocampus, and Thalamic Nuclei in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

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This article is the author's final published version in world Neurosurgery: X, Volume 19, July 2023, Article number 100212.

The published version is available at, Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Purpose: Identifying relationships between clinical features and quantitative characteristics of the amygdala-hippocampal and thalamic subregions in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) may offer insights into pathophysiology and the basis for imaging prognostic markers of treatment outcome. Our aim was to ascertain different patterns of atrophy or hypertrophy in mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) patients and their associations with postsurgical seizure outcomes. To assess this aim, this study is designed in 2 folds: (1) hemispheric changes within MTS group and (2) association with postsurgical seizure outcomes.

Methods and materials: 27 mTLE subjects with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) were scanned for conventional 3D T1w MPRAGE images and T2w scans. With respect to 12 months post-surgical seizure outcomes, 15 subjects reported being seizure free (SF) and 12 reported continued seizures. Quantitative automated segmentation and cortical parcellation were performed using Freesurfer. Automatic labeling and volume estimation of hippocampal subfields, amygdala, and thalamic subnuclei were also performed. The volume ratio (VR) for each label was computed and compared between (1) between contralateral and ipsilateral MTS using Wilcoxon rank-sum test and (2) SF and not seizure free (NSF) groups using linear regression analysis. False Discovery rate (FDR) with significant level of 0.05 were used in both analyses to correct for multiple comparisons.

Results: Amygdala: The medial nucleus of the amygdala was the most significantly reduced in patients with continued seizures when compared to patients who remained seizure free. Hippocampus: Comparison of ipsilateral and contralateral volumes with seizure outcomes showed volume loss was most evident in the mesial hippocampal regions such as CA4 and hippocampal fissure. Volume loss was also most explicit in the presubiculum body in patients with continued seizures at the time of their follow-up. Ipsilateral MTS compared to contralateral MTS analysis showed the heads of the ipsilateral subiculum, presubiculum, parasubiculum, dentate gyrus, CA4, and CA3 were more significantly affected than their respective bodies. Volume loss was most noted in mesial hippocampal regions. Thalamus: VPL and PuL were the most significantly reduced thalamic nuclei in NSF patients. In all statistically significant areas, volume reduction was observed in the NSF group. No significant volume reductions were noted in the thalamus and amygdala when comparing ipsilateral to contralateral sides in mTLE subjects.

Conclusions: Varying degrees of volume loss were demonstrated in the hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala subregions of MTS, especially between patients who remained seizure-free and those who did not. The results obtained can be used to further understand mTLE pathophysiology.

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