Reorganization of language-related neuronal networks in patients with left temporal lobe epilepsy - an fMRI study

Eur J Neurol. 2005 Apr;12(4):268-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2004.01127.x.


To investigate the inter- and intrahemispheric reorganization of the language cortex in left temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) with left-sided hippocampal sclerosis. A functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed on 13 right-handed patients suffering from medically intractable left TLE, and in 13 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. The activation paradigm used was a silent word generation task. A language laterality index (LI) was calculated from the number of activated voxels in the right and left anterior two-thirds of the hemispheres. Significant differences between the patients and the controls were observed in the activation of the left-sided inferior frontal gyrus. Less consistent findings in this region, as well as the relative protection of Broca's area from the activation, were revealed in the patients. In addition, different patterns of activation were proven in the cerebellum and other cortical as well as subcortical brain structures within both hemispheres. Significant differences were also found in the values of the language LIs between the investigated groups: these values suggested a more bihemispheric language representation in the patients. As anticipated, lateralization of the language functions in the epileptics significantly decreased in connection with an earlier age of initial insult. Our results support the hypothesis of a significant intra- and interhemispheric functional reorganization of language-related neuronal networks in left TLE.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / blood supply
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Regression, Psychology


  • Oxygen