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Keywords:

  • Default mode network;
  • Resting-state functional connectivity;
  • Generalized spike and wave discharges;
  • Cerebellum;
  • Thalamus;
  • Basal ganglia

Summary

Objective

Patients with genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) frequently continue to have seizures despite appropriate clinical management. GGE is associated with changes in the resting-state networks modulated by clinical factors such as duration of disease and response to treatment. However, the effect of generalized spike and wave discharges (GSWDs) and/or seizures on resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) is not well understood.

Methods

We investigated the effects of GSWD frequency (in GGE patients), GGE (patients vs. healthy controls), and seizures (uncontrolled vs. controlled) on RSFC using seed-based voxel correlation in simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) (EEG/fMRI) data from 72 GGE patients (23 with uncontrolled seizures) and 38 healthy controls. We used seeds in paracingulate cortex, thalamus, cerebellum, and posterior cingulate cortex to examine changes in cortical-subcortical resting-state networks and the default mode network (DMN). We excluded from analyses time points surrounding GSWDs to avoid possible contamination of the resting state.

Results

(1) Higher frequency of GSWDs was associated with an increase in seed-based voxel correlation with cortical and subcortical brain regions associated with executive function, attention, and the DMN; (2) RSFC in patients with GGE, when compared to healthy controls, was increased between paracingulate cortex and anterior, but not posterior, thalamus; and (3) GGE patients with uncontrolled seizures exhibited decreased cerebellar RSFC.

Significance

Our findings in this large sample of patients with GGE (1) demonstrate an effect of interictal GSWDs on resting-state networks, (2) provide evidence that different thalamic nuclei may be affected differently by GGE, and (3) suggest that cerebellum is a modulator of ictogenic circuits.