The Thalamic and Intracortical Inhibitory Function of Somatosensory System Is Unchanged in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy With Hippocampal Sclerosis

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2023 Jan 1;40(1):45-52. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000839. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


Purpose: In mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis, there is parietal atrophy and cognitive involvement in related domains. In this context, we hypothesized that inhibitory input into somatosensory cortex and thalamus may be increased in these patients, which could improve after epilepsy surgery. Thus, we analyzed the inhibitory function of somatosensory system by studying surround inhibition (SI) and recovery function of somatosensory evoked potentials in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis.

Methods: Nine patients with unoperated mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis, 10 patients who underwent epilepsy surgery, and 12 healthy subjects were included. For SI of somatosensory evoked potentials, we recorded somatosensory evoked potentials after stimulating median or ulnar nerve at wrist separately and after median and ulnar nerves simultaneously and calculated SI% in all participants. For recovery function of somatosensory evoked potentials, paired stimulation of median nerve at 40- and 100-millisecond intervals was performed. We compared the findings among groups. As a secondary analysis, we determined the outliers in the patient group and analyzed the relation to the clinical findings.

Results: The mean SI% or recovery function was similar among three groups. However, there were five patients with SI loss on normal side in the patient group, which was related to the antiseizure drugs.

Conclusions: In contrast to our hypothesis, both intracortical (SI) and thalamic/striatal (recovery function) inhibitory modulation of the somatosensory cortex was not altered in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis and did not differ in surgical and nonsurgical groups.

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe*
  • Hippocampal Sclerosis*
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Sclerosis / pathology
  • Thalamus