Abnormal directed connectivity of resting state networks in focal epilepsy

Neuroimage Clin. 2020:27:102336. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102336. Epub 2020 Jul 6.


Objective: Epilepsy diagnosis can be difficult in the absence of interictal epileptic discharges (IED) on scalp EEG. We used high-density EEG to measure connectivity in large-scale functional networks of patients with focal epilepsy (Temporal and Extratemporal Lobe Epilepsy, TLE and ETLE) and tested for network alterations during resting wakefulness without IEDs, compared to healthy controls. We measured global efficiency as a marker of integration within networks.

Methods: We analysed 49 adult patients with focal epilepsy and 16 healthy subjects who underwent high-density-EEG and structural MRI. We estimated cortical activity using electric source analysis in 82 atlas-based cortical regions based on the individual MRI. We applied directed connectivity analysis (Partial Directed Coherence) on these sources and performed graph analysis: we computed the Global Efficiency on the whole brain and on each resting state network. We tested these features in different group of patients.

Results: Compared to controls, efficiency was increased in both TLE and ETLE (p < 0.05). The somato-motor-network, the ventral-attention-network and the default-mode-network had a significantly increased efficiency (p < 0.05) in both TLE and ETLE as well as TLE with hippocampal sclerosis.

Significance: During interictal scalp EEG epochs without IED, patients with focal epilepsy show brain functional connectivity alterations in the whole brain and in specific resting-state-networks. This higher integration reflects a chronic effect of pathological activity within these structures and complement previous work on altered information outflow. These findings could increase the diagnostic sensitivity of scalp EEG to identify epileptic activity in the absence of IED.

Keywords: Connectivity; Epilepsy; Global Efficiency; Network integration; Resting State.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial* / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging