Radiologic Classification of Hippocampal Sclerosis in Epilepsy

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2024 Feb 21:ajnr.A8214. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A8214. Online ahead of print.


Temporal lobe epilepsy is a common form of epilepsy that is often associated with hippocampal sclerosis (HS). Although HS is commonly considered a binary assessment in radiological evaluation, it is known that histopathological changes occur in distinct clusters. Some subtypes of HS only affect certain subfields, resulting in minimal changes to the overall volume of the hippocampus. This is likely a major reason why whole hippocampal volumetrics have underperformed versus expert readers. With recent advancements in MRI technology, it is now possible to characterize the substructure of the hippocampus more accurately. However, this is not consistently addressed in radiographic evaluations. The histological subtype of HS is critical for prognosis and treatment decision making, necessitating improved radiological classification of HS. The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) has issued a consensus classification scheme for subtyping HS histopathological changes. This review aims to explore how the ILAE subtypes of HS correlate with radiographic findings, introduce a grading system that integrates radiological and pathological reporting in HS, and outline an approach to detecting HS subtypes using MRI. This framework will not only benefit current clinical evaluations, but also enhance future studies involving high-resolution MRI in temporal lobe epilepsy.ABBREVIATIONS: CA = cornu ammonis; DG = dentate gyrus; HS = hippocampal sclerosis; ILAE = International League Against Epilepsy; SRLM = strata radiatum, lacunosum, and moleculare layers; TLE = temporal lobe epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review