Longitudinal changes of focal cortical glucose hypometabolism in adults with chronic drug resistant temporal lobe epilepsy

Catherine Sharpe, Benjamin Sinclair, Patrick Kwan, Rodney J. Hicks, Terence J. O’Brien, Lucy Vivash

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A high proportion of patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) show focal relative hypometabolism in the region of the epileptogenic zone on [18F]-Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET). However, whether focal (hypo)metabolism changes over time has not been well studied. We analysed repeated [18F]-FDG PET scans of patients with TLE to determine longitudinal changes in glucose metabolism. Adults (n = 16; 9 female, 7 male) diagnosed with drug resistant chronic TLE were assessed. Each patient had two [18F]-FDG PET scans that were 2–95 months apart. Region-of-interest analysis was performed on MR images onto which PET scans were coregistered to determine the relative [18F]-FDG uptake (normalised to pons) in the bilateral hippocampi and temporal lobes. Statistical Parametric Mapping analysis investigated global voxel-wise changes in relative metabolism between timepoints. Normalised [18F]-FDG uptake did not change with time in the ipsilateral (baseline 1.14 ± 0.03, follow-up 1.19 ± -0.04) or contralateral hippocampus (baseline 1.18 ± 0.03, follow-up 1.19 ± 0.03). Uptake in the temporal neocortex also remained stable (ipsilateral baseline 1.35 ± 0.03, follow-up 1.30 ± 0.04; contralateral baseline 1.38 ± 0.04, follow-up 1.33 ± 0.03). The was no relationship between change in uptake on the repeated scans and the time between the scans. SPM analysis showed increases in metabolism in the ipsilateral temporal lobe in 2/16 patients. No areas of decreased metabolism concordant to the epileptogenic zone were identified. [18F]-FDG uptake showed no significant changes over time in patients with drug-resistant TLE. This suggests that repeating FDG-PET scans in patients with subtle or no hypometabolism is of low clinical yield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2795–2803
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • FDG
  • Glucose hypometabolism
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • []fluorodeoxyglucose

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