Atypical language lateralisation associated with right fronto-temporal grey matter increases--a combined fMRI and VBM study in left-sided mesial temporal lobe epilepsy patients

Neuroimage. 2012 Jan 2;59(1):728-37. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.053. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


By combining language functional magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry in patients with left-sided mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and hippocampal sclerosis, we studied whether atypical language dominance is associated with temporal and/or extratemporal cortical changes. Using verbal fluency functional magnetic resonance imaging for language lateralisation, we identified 20 patients with left-sided mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and atypical language lateralisation. These patients were compared with a group of 20 matched left-sided mesial temporal lobe epilepsy patients who had typical language lateralisation. Using T1-weighted 3D images of all patients and voxel-based morphometry, we compared grey matter volumes between the groups of patients. We also correlated grey matter volumes with the degree of atypical language activation. Patients with atypical language lateralisation had increases of grey matter volumes, mainly within right-sided temporo-lateral cortex (x=59, y=-16, z=-1, T=6.36, p<.001 corrected), and less significantly within frontal brain regions compared to patients with typical language lateralisation. The degree of atypical fronto-temporal language activation (measured by lateralisation indices and relative functional magnetic resonance imaging activity) was correlated with right-sided temporal and frontal grey matter volumes. Patients with atypical language lateralisation did not differ in terms of language performance from patients with typical language dominance. Atypical language lateralisation in patients with left-sided mesial temporal lobe epilepsy was associated with increased grey matter volume within the non-epileptic right temporal and frontal lobe. Grey matter increases associated with atypical language might represent morphological changes underlying functional reorganisation of the language network. This hard-wired reorganised atypical language network seems to be suitable to support language functions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male