In vivo measurement of brain network connectivity reflects progression and intrinsic disease severity in a model of temporal lobe epilepsy

Daniele Bertoglio, Elisabeth Jonckers, Idrish Ali, Marleen Verhoye, Annemie Van der Linden, Stefanie Dedeurwaerdere

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Different types of brain injury, such as status epilepticus (SE), trauma, or stroke may initiate the process of epileptogenesis and lead to the development of temporal lobe epilepsy. Epileptogenesis is characterized by an initial latent period during which impaired network communication and synaptic circuit alterations are occurring. Ultimately, these modifications result in the development of spontaneous recurrent seizures (SRS). Current knowledge on the functional connectivity network changes during epileptogenesis and how network alterations relate to seizure is very limited. To investigate these underlying network connectivity modifications, we imaged epileptic and control rats by means of resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) during epileptogenesis. A cohort of animals was video-electroencephalography (video-EEG) monitored continuously over 12 weeks to determine disease severity during the course of disease, with the first SRS appearing around 2 weeks post-SE for most of the animals. Epileptic animals displayed a significant wide-spread hyposynchrony at 2 weeks post-SE, followed by a significant increase in network synchronicity from 2 to 4 weeks post-SE. Interestingly, subjects with a delayed epilepsy onset demonstrated significantly lower synchronicity compared to controls and the epileptic group at 4 weeks post-SE. Finally, network connectivity at 4 weeks post-SE was found to correlate with seizure onset (r = 0.858, p <.0001) and disease severity measured over 12 weeks (e.g. cingulate cortex: r = 0.863, p =.002), suggesting a possible network strengthening upon seizure reoccurrence. Our findings indicate that epileptogenesis is characterized by an initial hyposynchrony of brain networks and the disease-associated progression reflects disease severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • BOLD response
  • Epileptogenesis
  • Functional MRI
  • Network connectivity
  • Rat
  • Spontaneous recurrent seizure
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

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