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Keywords:

  • cognition;
  • epilepsy;
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging;
  • neuropsychology;
  • telencephalin;
  • levetiracetam

Objectives –  The use of telencephalin as a possible marker for altered cortical function as demonstrated by functional MRI was investigated in a pilot study with 16 patients with localization-related epilepsy and secondarily generalized seizures.

Materials and methods –  Functional MRI of verbal working memory performance (Sternberg paradigm) and self-regulatory control processes (Stroop paradigm) was used to examine cortical activation in 16 patients with localization-related epilepsy and secondarily generalized seizures. Additionally, blood serum concentrations of soluble telencephalin (marker for neuronal damage) were determined.

Results –  In three patients (one temporal and two frontal focus), telencephalin was detected. All three patients had lower functional MRI activation in the frontotemporal region (P = 0.04), but not in other regions (P > 0.35) compared with patients without detectable telencephalin. Additionally, an association of levetiracetam and frontotemporal activation was observed.

Conclusions –  These preliminary data in a heterogeneous group suggest an association between decreased frontotemporal activation on fMRI and both detectable telencephalin serum levels and levetiracetam use. Future longitudinal studies with larger patient groups are required to confirm these observations. It is hypothesized that altered local function of the frontotemporal cortex in localization-related epilepsy might be better predicted by the biochemical marker telencephalin than epilepsy characteristics such as seizure focus.