Cerebellum abnormalities in idiopathic generalized epilepsy with generalized tonic-clonic seizures revealed by diffusion tensor imaging

PLoS One. 2010 Dec 21;5(12):e15219. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015219.


Although there is increasing evidence suggesting that there may be subtle abnormalities in idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) patients using modern neuroimaging techniques, most of these previous studies focused on the brain grey matter, leaving the underlying white matter abnormalities in IGE largely unknown, which baffles the treatment as well as the understanding of IGE. In this work, we adopted multiple methods from different levels based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to analyze the white matter abnormalities in 14 young male IGE patients with generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) only, comparing with 29 age-matched male healthy controls. First, we performed a voxel-based analysis (VBA) of the fractional anisotropy (FA) images derived from DTI. Second, we used a tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) method to explore the alterations within the white matter skeleton of the patients. Third, we adopted region-of-interest (ROI) analyses based on the findings of VBA and TBSS to further confirm abnormal brain regions in the patients. At last, considering the convergent evidences we found by VBA, TBSS and ROI analyses, a subsequent probabilistic fiber tractography study was performed to investigate the abnormal white matter connectivity in the patients. Significantly decreased FA values were consistently observed in the cerebellum of patients, providing fresh evidence and new clues for the important role of cerebellum in IGE with GTCS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anisotropy
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Epilepsy / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Probability
  • Seizures / pathology*