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You are here: Home Publications CENs Bibliography Morphometric MRI findings challenge the concept of the “unaffected” hemisphere in Rasmussen encephalitis

Bastian David, Conrad C Prillwitz, Christian Hoppe, Robert Sassen, Sophia Hörsch, Bernd Weber, Elke Hattingen, Christian E Elger, and Theodor Rüber (2019)

Morphometric MRI findings challenge the concept of the “unaffected” hemisphere in Rasmussen encephalitis

Epilepsia, 60(5):e40--e46.

Against Epilepsy Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) is an immune-mediated brain disease with progressive unihemispheric atrophy. Although it is regarded as a strictly one-sided pathology, volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have revealed atrophy in the so-called unaffected hemisphere. In contrast to previous studies, we hypothesized that the contralesional hemisphere would show increased gray matter volume in response to the ipsilesional atrophy. We assessed the gray matter volume differences among 21 patients with chronic, late-stage RE and 89 age- and gender-matched healthy controls using voxel-based morphometry. In addition, 11 patients with more than one scan were tested longitudinally. Compared to controls, the contralesional hemisphere of the patients revealed a higher cortical volume but a lower subcortical gray matter volume (all P < 0.001, unpaired t test). Progressive gray matter volume losses in bilateral subcortical gray matter structures were observed (P < 0.05, paired t test). The comparatively higher cortical volume in the contralesional hemisphere can be interpreted as a result of compensatory structural remodeling in response to atrophy of the ipsilesional hemisphere. Contralesional subcortical gray matter volume loss may be due to the pathology or its treatment. Because MRI provides the best marker for determining the progression of RE, an accurate description of its MRI features is clinically relevant.

MRI, autoimmune disease, epilepsy, neuroplasticity, neuroradiology, pediatric neurology
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