Impaired resting-state functional integrations within default mode network of generalized tonic-clonic seizures epilepsy

PLoS One. 2011 Feb 25;6(2):e17294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017294.


Generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) are characterized by unresponsiveness and convulsions, which cause complete loss of consciousness. Many recent studies have found that the ictal alterations in brain activity of the GTCS epilepsy patients are focally involved in some brain regions, including thalamus, upper brainstem, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior midbrain regions, and lateral parietal cortex. Notably, many of these affected brain regions are the same and overlap considerably with the components of the so-called default mode network (DMN). Here, we hypothesize that the brain activity of the DMN of the GTCS epilepsy patients are different from normal controls, even in the resting state. To test this hypothesis, we compared the DMN of the GTCS epilepsy patients and the controls using the resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Thirteen brain areas in the DMN were extracted, and a complete undirected weighted graph was used to model the DMN for each participant. When directly comparing the edges of the graph, we found significant decreased functional connectivities within the DMN of the GTCS epilepsy patients comparing to the controls. As for the nodes of the graph, we found that the degree of some brain areas within the DMN was significantly reduced in the GTCS epilepsy patients, including the anterior medial prefrontal cortex, the bilateral superior frontal cortex, and the posterior cingulate cortex. Then we investigated into possible mechanisms of how GTCS epilepsy could cause the reduction of the functional integrations of DMN. We suggested the damaged functional integrations of the DMN in the GTCS epilepsy patients even during the resting state, which could help to understand the neural correlations of the impaired consciousness of GTCS epilepsy patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Rest / psychology
  • Seizures / physiopathology*
  • Seizures / psychology
  • Young Adult