Decreased thalamocortical connectivity in resolved Rolandic epilepsy

Clin Neurophysiol. 2023 Sep:153:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2023.05.013. Epub 2023 Jun 24.


Objective: Median nerve somatosensory evoked fields (SEFs) conduction times reflect the integrity of neural transmission across the thalamocortical circuit. We hypothesized median nerve SEF conduction time would be abnormal in children with Rolandic epilepsy (RE).

Methods: 22 children with RE (10 active; 12 resolved) and 13 age-matched controls underwent structural and diffusion MRI and median nerve and visual stimulation during magnetoencephalography (MEG). N20 SEF responses were identified in contralateral somatosensory cortices. P100 were identified in contralateral occipital cortices as controls. Conduction times were compared between groups in linear models controlling for height. N20 conduction time was also compared to thalamic volume and Rolandic thalamocortical structural connectivity inferred using probabilistic tractography.

Results: The RE group had slower N20 conduction compared to controls (p = 0.042, effect size 0.6 ms) and this difference was driven by the resolved RE group (p = 0.046). There was no difference in P100 conduction time between groups (p = 0.83). Ventral thalamic volume positively correlated with N20 conduction time (p = 0.014).

Conclusions: Children with resolved RE have focally decreased Rolandic thalamocortical connectivity.

Significance: These results identify a persistent focal thalamocortical circuit abnormality in resolved RE and suggest that decreased Rolandic thalamocortical connectivity may support symptom resolution in this self-limited epilepsy.

Keywords: BECTS; CECTS; Idiopathic focal epilepsy; SeLECTS; Self-limited epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes; Thalamus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Occipital Lobe
  • Thalamus / diagnostic imaging