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Thalamo–cortical network underlying deep brain stimulation of centromedian thalamic nuclei in intractable epilepsy: a multimodal imaging analysis

Authors Kim SH, Lim SC, Yang DW, Cho JH, Son BC, Kim J, Hong SB, Shon YM

Received 8 August 2017

Accepted for publication 20 September 2017

Published 17 October 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 2607—2619


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi

Seong Hoon Kim,1 Sung Chul Lim,1 Dong Won Yang,1 Jeong Hee Cho,1 Byung-Chul Son,2 Jiyeon Kim,3 Seung Bong Hong,4 Young-Min Shon4

1Department of Neurology, 2Department of Neurosurgery, Catholic Neuroscience Institute, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, 3Department of Neurology, Korea University Ansan Hospital, College of Medicine, Korea University, Ansan, 4Department of Neurology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the centromedian thalamic nucleus (CM) can be an alternative treatment option for intractable epilepsy patients. Since CM may be involved in widespread cortico-subcortical networks, identification of the cortical sub-networks specific to the target stimuli may provide further understanding on the underlying mechanisms of CM DBS. Several brain structures have distinguishing brain connections that may be related to the pivotal propagation and subsequent clinical effect of DBS.
Methods: To explore core structures and their connections relevant to CM DBS, we applied electroencephalogram (EEG) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to 10 medically intractable patients – three generalized epilepsy (GE) and seven multifocal epilepsy (MFE) patients unsuitable for resective surgery. Spatiotemporal activation pattern was mapped from scalp EEG by delivering low-frequency stimuli (5 Hz). Structural connections between the CM and the cortical activation spots were assessed using DTI.
Results: We confirmed an average 72% seizure reduction after CM DBS and its clinical efficiency remained consistent during the observation period (mean 21 months). EEG data revealed sequential source propagation from the anterior cingulate, followed by the frontotemporal regions bilaterally. In addition, maximal activation was found in the left cingulate gyrus and the right medial frontal cortex during the right and left CM stimulation, respectively. From DTI data, we confirmed concrete structural connections between CM and those maximal activation spots identified from EEG data.
Conclusion: These results suggest that the anterior cingulate can be a core cortical structure for the bilateral propagation of CM stimulation. Our DTI findings also indicate that the propagation of CM stimulation may rely upon integrity of structural connections between CM and these key cortical regions. Structures and their connections found in this study may be relevant in the interpretation of the clinical outcomes of CM DBS.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation, intractable epilepsy, centromedian thalamic nucleus, structural connectivity, cortical recruiting response, anterior cingulate

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