Temporal Cortex Morphology in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Patients and Their Asymptomatic Siblings

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Abstract

Temporal cortex abnormalities are common in patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy due to hippocampal sclerosis (MTLE+HS) and believed to be relevant to the underlying mechanisms. In the present study, we set out to determine the familiarity of temporal cortex morphologic alterations in a cohort of MTLE+HS patients and their asymptomatic siblings. A surface-based morphometry (SBM) method was applied to process MRI data acquired from 140 individuals (50 patients with unilateral MTLE+HS, 50 asymptomatic siblings of patients, and 40 healthy controls). Using a region-of-interest approach, alterations in temporal cortex morphology were determined in patients and their asymptomatic siblings by comparing with the controls. Alterations in temporal cortex morphology were identified in MTLE+HS patients ipsilaterally within the anterio-medial regions, including the entorhinal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, and temporal pole. Subtle but similar pattern of morphology changes with a medium effect size were also noted in the asymptomatic siblings. These localized alterations were related to volume loss that appeared driven by shared contractions in cerebral cortex surface area. These findings indicate that temporal cortex morphologic alterations are common to patients and their asymptomatic siblings and suggest that such localized traits are possibly heritable.

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