Bilateral epileptic networks in congenital and acquired corpus callosum defects: EEG-fMRI study

Itai Loushy, Guy Gurevitch, Tomer Gazit, Mordekhay Medvedovsky, Hui Ming Khoo, Jean Gotman, Firas Fahoum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Electroencephalography-correlated functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-fMRI) allows imaging of brain-wide epileptic networks, and demonstrates that focal interictal epileptic activity is sometimes accompanied by bilateral functional activations. The corpus callosum (CC) facilitates bilateral spread of epileptic activity and at times targeted surgically for drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). We hypothesized that focal epileptic networks are more unilateral in patients lacking intact CC. Methods: We included focal DRE patients who underwent pre-surgical EEG-fMRI and had CC agenesis (group A, n = 5), patients who previously underwent anterior callosotomy as treatment for drop attacks and continued having seizures (group B, n = 6), and control group of patients with focal epilepsy and intact CC (group C, n = 9). Blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal maps were generated for interictal epileptic discharges. To quantify bi-hemispheric distribution of epileptic networks, laterality indices were compared between groups. Anatomical and diffusion-weighted imaging demonstrated white matter pathways. Results: 96% of studies demonstrated bilateral activations. Laterality indices were similar in groups A and C, whereas group B demonstrated a more bilateral network than group C (p = 0.028). Diffusion-weighted and anatomical imaging showed aberrant white matter pathways and larger anterior commissure in groups A and B. 68% of studies showed maximal activation cluster concordant with the presumed epileptic focus, 28% showed non-maximal activation at presumed focus. Significance: Focal epileptic activity is associated with bilateral functional activations despite lack of intact CC, and is associated with stronger contralateral activation in patients after anterior callosotomy compared to controls. These findings disprove our initial hypothesis, and combined with white matter structural imaging, may indicate that the CC is not a sole route of propagation of epileptic activity, which might spread via anterior commissure. Our study demonstrates the utility of EEG-fMRI in assessing epileptic networks and potentially aiding in tailoring surgical treatments in DRE patients with callosal anomalies, and in callosal surgeries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107986
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Anterior commissure
  • Callosal agenesis
  • Callosotomy
  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Drug-resistant epilepsy


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