Background: Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) with hippocampus sclerosis (HS) is an important cause for focal epilepsy. In this study, we explored the integrity of connecting networks using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and two whole-brain voxel-based methods: statistical parametric mapping (SPM) and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS).
Methods: Thirty-three consecutive patients with mTLE and HS undergoing presurgical evaluation were scanned at 3 T, a DTI data set was acquired and parametric maps of fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were calculated. Twenty-one patients had left hippocampal sclerosis (LHS) and 12 patients had right HS (RHS). These groups were compared to 37 normal control subjects using both SPM5 and TBSS.
Results: The ipsilateral temporal lobe showed widespread FA reduction in both groups. The limbic system was clearly abnormal in the LHS group, also involving the arcuate fasciculus. In RHS, changes were more restricted but also showed involvement of the contralateral temporal and inferior frontal lobe. Increased MD was found in the ipsilateral hippocampus by SPM that was only marginally detected by TBSS. In white matter regions, however, TBSS was more sensitive to changes than SPM.
Conclusion: DTI detects extensive changes in mTLE with HS. The affected networks were principally in the ipsilateral temporal lobe and the limbic system but also the arcuate fasciculus. SPM and TBSS gave complementary information with higher sensitivity to FA changes using TBSS.