Functional connectivity of hippocampus in temporal lobe epilepsy depends on hippocampal dominance: a systematic review of the literature.

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Lateralized alterations in hippocampal function in the resting-state have been demonstrated for patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). However, resting-state fMRI of the hippocampus has yet to be substantiated as an adjunct to standard pre-operative assessments of the seizure focus.Here we report the results of a systematic review of resting-state fMRI studies investigating laterality of hippocampal network connectivity in TLE patients.A search of the PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Embase databases for full-length articles written in English was conducted through June 2020 using the following terms: ‘resting state fMRI,’ ‘hippocampus,’ ‘epilepsy,’ and ‘laterality.’Our literature search yielded a total of 42 papers. After excluding studies that did not include patients with epilepsy, utilize resting-state fMRI, or explore the relationship between functional connectivity and disease lateralization, 20 publications were selected for inclusion. From these studies, a total of 528 patients, 258 with left TLE and 270 with right TLE, and 447 healthy controls were included. Of the 20 studies included, 18 found that patients with TLE demonstrated decreased hippocampal functional connectivity ipsilateral to the epileptogenic focus and 10 additionally reported increased hippocampal functional connectivity contralateral to the epileptogenic focus. Several studies demonstrated that the duration of disease was correlated with these changes in functional connectivity. This implies that a compensatory mechanism may be present in patients with treatment-refractory TLE.The consistency of this hippocampal connectivity pattern across multiple studies suggests resting-state fMRI may be useful as a non-invasive diagnostic tool for preoperative evaluation of TLE patients.

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