Purpose: The determination of epileptogenic structures in partial epilepsy is crucial in the context of epilepsy surgery. In this study we have quantified the “epileptogenicity” of mesial temporal lobe structures (M), lateral neocortical regions (L), and extratemporal perisylvian structures (ET) in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), in order to classify the brain networks involved in seizure generation.
Methods: Thirty-four patients having TLE investigated by intracerebral recordings using stereotactic electroencephalography (EEG) (SEEG) were selected. Epileptogenicity of M, L, and ET structures was quantified according to the “epileptogenicity index” (EI), a new way to quantify rapid discharges at seizure onset, ranging from 0 (no epileptogenicity) to 1 (maximal epileptogenicity).
Results: Automatic clustering using EI values from M, L, and ET separated patients into four classes: mesial group (max EI in M), lateral group (max EI in L), mesiolateral group (high EI in both M and L) and temporoperisylvian group (TPS) (high values in ET). The median number of highly epileptogenic structures (defined by EI >0.3) was four, a result confirming that most TLE is organized as “epileptogenic networks.” We found that the duration of epilepsy was correlated with the number of epileptogenic structures and that surgical prognosis was also related to the extent of the epileptogenicity in the brain.
Conclusions: Several distinct epileptogenic networks are involved in seizure generation in TLE. Findings advocate for a progressive recruitment of epileptogenic structures in human brain with time.