Disrupted functional connectivity in white matter resting-state networks in unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy

Brain Imaging Behav. 2022 Feb;16(1):324-335. doi: 10.1007/s11682-021-00506-8. Epub 2021 Sep 3.


Unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is the most common type of focal epilepsy characterized by foci in the unilateral temporal lobe grey matters of regions such as the hippocampus. However, it remains unclear how the functional features of white matter are altered in TLE. In the current study, resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed on 71 left TLE (LTLE) patients, 79 right TLE (RTLE) patients and 47 healthy controls (HC). Clustering analysis was used to identify fourteen white matter networks (WMN). The functional connectivity (FC) was calculated among WMNs and between WMNs and grey matter. Furthermore, the FC laterality of hemispheric WMNs was assessed. First, both patient groups showed decreased FCs among WMNs. Specifically, cerebellar white matter illustrated decreased FCs with the cerebral superficial WMNs, implying a dysfunctional interaction between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex in TLE. Second, the FCs between WMNs and the ipsilateral hippocampus (grey matter foci) were also reduced in patient groups, which may suggest insufficient functional integration in unilateral TLE. Interestingly, RTLE showed more severe abnormalities of white matter FCs, including links to the bilateral hippocampi and temporal white matter, than LTLE. Taken together, these findings provide functional evidence of white matter abnormalities, extending the understanding of the pathological mechanism of white matter impairments in unilateral TLE.

Keywords: Functional connectivity; Lateralization; Temporal lobe epilepsy; White matter functional networks; fMRI.

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / diagnostic imaging
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Temporal Lobe
  • White Matter* / diagnostic imaging