Epileptogenic networks of type II focal cortical dysplasia: A stereo-EEG study

Giulia Varotto, Laura Tassi, Silvana Franceschetti, Roberto Spreafico, Ferruccio Panzica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the context of focal and drug-resistant epilepsy, surgical resection of the epileptogenic zone may be the only therapeutic option for reducing or suppressing seizures. In many such patients, intracranial stereo-EEG recordings remain the gold standard for the epilepsy surgery work-up. Assessing the extent of the epileptogenic zone and its organisation is a crucial objective, and requires advanced methods of signal processing. Over the last ten years, considerable efforts have been made to develop signal analysis techniques for characterising the connectivity between spatially distributed regions.The aim of this study was to evaluate the changes in dynamic connectivity pattern under inter-ictal, pre-ictal and ictal conditions using signals derived from stereo-EEG recordings of 10 patients with Taylor-type focal cortical dysplasia. A causal linear multivariate method - partial directed coherence - and indices derived from graph theory were used to characterise the synchronisation property of the lesional zone (corresponding to the epileptogenic zone in our patients) and to distinguish it from other regions involved in ictal activity or not.The results show that a significantly different connectivity pattern (mainly in the gamma band) distinguishes the epileptogenic zone from other cortical regions not only during the ictal event, but also during the inter- and pre-ictal periods. This indicates that the lesional nodes play a leading role in generating and propagating ictal EEG activity by acting as the hubs of the epileptic network originating and sustaining seizures. Our findings also indicate that the cortical regions beyond the dysplasia involved in the ictal activity essentially act as "secondary" generators of synchronous activity. The leading role of the lesional zone may account for the good post-surgical outcome of patients with type II focal cortical dysplasia as resecting the dysplasia removes the epileptogenic zone responsible for seizure organisation. Furthermore, our findings strongly suggest that advanced signal processing techniques aimed at studying synchronisation and characterising brain networks could substantially improve the pre-surgical evaluation of patients with focal epilepsy, even in cases without an associated anatomically detectable lesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-598
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2012


  • Effective connectivity
  • Epileptogenic zone
  • FCD
  • Graph-theory
  • PDC
  • Stereo-EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology


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