Objective: Recently, we found that high-frequency somatosensory evoked potentials (HF-SEPs), which are modulated by arousal-related structures, were abnormally enhanced during N-REM sleep in two seizure-free IGE patients [Restuccia D, Rubino M, Valeriani M, Della Marca G. Increase of brainstem high-frequency SEP subcomponents during light sleep in seizure-free epileptic patients. Clin Neurophysiol 2005; 116: 1774-1778]. Here, we aimed at verifying whether similar HF-SEP abnormalities were significantly correlated to the clinical outcome in a larger population of untreated IGE patients. Methods: Patients were classified as Juvenile Myoclonic epilepsy (JME; six patients) and Childhood or Juvenile Absence epilepsy (CAE and JAE, six patients). They were untreated because newly diagnosed, or because seizure-free. HF-SEPs from patients were compared with those obtained from 21 healthy volunteers. Results: HF-SEPs were abnormally enhanced in all seizure-free CAE-JAE patients, whereas they were normal in all JME patients and in CAE-JAE patients with frequent seizures. Not only scalp distribution, but also dipolar source analysis suggested a subcortical origin for these enhanced subcomponents, possibly in the brainstem. Conclusions: The enhancement of HF-SEPs might reflect the hyperactivity of arousal-related brainstem structures; such an enhancement was found in all seizure-free CAE-JAE patients, while it was never observed in JME patients. Significance: We speculate that the hyperactivity of arousal-related brainstem structures might account for the different clinical outcome among IGE subsyndromes.
- Idiopathic generalized epilepsy
- Somatosensory evoked potentials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Sensory Systems
- Physiology (medical)