Quantifying interictal metabolic activity in human temporal lobe epilepsy

Thomas R. Henry, John C. Mazziotta, Jerome Engel, Peter D. Christenson, Jing Xi Zhang, Michael E. Phelps, David E. Kuhl

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169 Scopus citations


The majority of patients with complex partial seizures of unilateral temporal lobe origin have interjetal temporal hypometabolism on [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) studies. Often, this hypometabolism extends to ipsilateral extratemporal sites. The use of accurately quantified metabolic data has been limited by the absence of an equally reliable method of anatomical analysis of PET images. We developed a standardized method for visual placement of anatomically configured regions of interest on FDG PET studies, which is particularly adapted to the widespread, asymmetric, and often severe interictal metabolic alterations of temporal lobe epilepsy. This method was ap-plied by a single investigator, who was blind to the identity of subjects, to 10 normal control and 25 interictal temporal lobe epilepsy studies. All subjects had normal brain anatomical volumes on structural neuroimaging studies. The results demonstrate ipsilateral thalamic and temporal lobe involvement in the interictal hypometabolism of unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy. Ipsilateral frontal, parietal, and basal ganglial metabolism is also reduced, although not as markedly as is temporal and thalamic metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-757
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990


  • Cerebral metabolism
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose
  • Functional anatomy
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy


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