Antiepileptic drug response in temporal lobe epilepsy: a clinical and MRI morphometry study

Neurology. 2010 Nov 9;75(19):1695-701. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181fc29dd.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between brain MRI and clinical characteristics and patterns of antiepileptic drug (AED) response in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE).

Methods: A total of 165 MTLE patients were divided into seizure-free with AED (AED responders, n = 50), pharmacoresistant (n = 87), and remitting-relapsing seizure control group (n = 28). All groups were evaluated regarding age, frequency of seizures, and age at epilepsy onset, duration of epilepsy, febrile seizures, presence and side of hippocampal atrophy (HA), and initial precipitating injuries. For gray matter (GM) MRI voxel-based morphometry (VBM) we selected only patients with unilateral HA on visual MRI analysis (n = 100). Comparisons were made between all groups and 75 healthy controls.

Results: Age at epilepsy onset was lower (p = 0.005) and initial frequency of seizures was higher in the pharmacoresistant compared with the other 2 groups (p = 0.018). All groups showed GM atrophy compared to controls in ipsilateral hippocampus, bilateral parahippocampal gyri, frontal, occipital, parietal, and cerebellar areas. In the AED responders group, such findings were more restricted to areas ipsilateral to the epileptic focus and more widespread in the pharmacoresistant and remitting-relapsing groups. VBM pairwise comparisons showed areas with GM volume reduction in the pharmacoresistant and remitting-relapsing groups compared with AED responders in bilateral periorbital frontal (p < 0.01), cingulum (p < 0.05), and temporal lobe contralateral to the epileptic focus (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Pharmacoresistant and remitting-relapsing groups presented a similar pattern of GM atrophy, which was more widespread compared with AED responders. Conversely, age at epilepsy onset was lower and initial seizure frequency was higher in pharmacoresistant patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Drug Resistance / physiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Anticonvulsants