Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI
PURPOSE: To provide a more detailed investigation of hippocampal subfields using 7T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the identification of hippocampal sclerosis in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients (n = 13) with drug-resistant TLE previously identified by conventional imaging as having hippocampal sclerosis (HS) or not (nine without HS, four HS) and 20 age-matched healthy controls were scanned and compared using a 7T MRI protocol. Using a manual segmentation scheme to delineate hippocampal subfields, subfield-specific volume changes and apparent transverse relaxation rate ( R2*) were studied between the two groups. In addition, qualitative assessment at 7T and clinical outcomes were correlated with measured subfield changes.
RESULTS: Volumetry of the hippocampus at 7T in HS patients revealed significant ipsilateral subfield atrophy in CA1 (P = 0.001) and CA4+DG (P < 0.001). Volumetry also uncovered subfield atrophy in 33% of patients without HS, which had not been detected using conventional imaging. R2* was significantly lower in the CA4+DG subfields (P = 0.001) and the whole hippocampus (P = 0.029) of HS patients compared to controls but not significantly lower than the group without HS (P = 0.077, P = 0.109). No correlation was found between quantitative volumetry and qualitative assessment as well as surgical outcomes (Sub, P = 0.495, P = 0.567, P = 0.528; CA1, P = 0.104 ± 0.171, P = 0.273, P = 0.554; CA2+CA3, P = 0.517, P = 0.952, P = 0.130 ± 0.256; CA4+DG, P = 0.052 ± 0.173, P = 0.212, P = 0.124 ± 0.204; WholeHipp, P = 0.187, P = 0.132 ± 0.197, P = 0.628).
CONCLUSION: These preliminary findings indicate that hippocampal subfield volumetry assessed at 7T is capable of identifying characteristic patterns of hippocampal atrophy in HS patients; however, difficulty remains in using imaging to identify hippocampal pathologies in cases without HS.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2 J. MAGN. RESON. IMAGING 2017;45:1359-1370.