Gray matter heterotopia: clinical and neuroimaging report on 22 children

Acta Neurol Belg. 2022 Feb;122(1):153-162. doi: 10.1007/s13760-021-01774-3. Epub 2021 Sep 1.


Objective: To investigate the clinical characteristics and neuroimaging features of childhood presenting with gray matter heterotopia observed in a single tertiary Pediatric Department in Catania and compare the data with those reported in the literature.

Methods: A retrospectively review of the history, clinical findings, electrophysiological features and magnetic resonance images of 22 children presenting with gray matter heterotopia observed from January 2010 to January 2020.

Results: Among the 22 children included in the study, 17 presented with periventricular heterotopia (PVNH), two with Subcortical Band Heterotopia (SBH), and three with other subcortical heterotopia (SUBH). In the affected children, the ages at first diagnosis ranged from 3 months to 16 years with a mean age of 8.2 years (± 5.4); twelve (54.5%) suffered by developmental delay and intellectual deficit; eleven children (50%) complained of epileptic seizures, mostly focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizure. In addition, in the periventricular heterotopia group (PVNH), cerebral and systemic malformations were reported in twelve (70%) and in ten (58%) children, respectively, out of seventeen. In the SBH plus SUBH group, epileptic seizures were recorded in 3 (60%) out of 5 children, cerebral malformations in one child and systemic malformations in two children.

Conclusions: Heterotopic gray matter malformations include a group of disorders that manifest with a variety of neurological implications, such as cognitive impairment and epilepsy, and often related with epilepsy, other cerebral malformations and systemic anomalies.

Keywords: Childhood; Clinical; Epilepsy; Heterotopia; Neuroimaging.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Periventricular Nodular Heterotopia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / diagnostic imaging