Identifying the epileptogenic zone in interictal resting-state MEG source-space networks

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Objective: In one third of patients, seizures remain after epilepsy surgery, meaning that improved preoperative evaluation methods are needed to identify the epileptogenic zone. A potential framework for such a method is network theory, as it can be applied to noninvasive recordings, even in the absence of epileptiform activity. Our aim was to identify the epileptogenic zone on the basis of hub status of local brain areas in interictal magnetoencephalography (MEG) networks. Methods: Preoperative eyes-closed resting-state MEG recordings were retrospectively analyzed in 22 patients with refractory epilepsy, of whom 14 were seizure-free 1 year after surgery. Beamformer-based time series were reconstructed for 90 cortical and subcortical automated anatomic labeling (AAL) regions of interest (ROIs). Broadband functional connectivity was estimated using the phase lag index in artifact-free epochs without interictal epileptiform abnormalities. A minimum spanning tree was generated to represent the network, and the hub status of each ROI was calculated using betweenness centrality, which indicates the centrality of a node in a network. The correspondence of resection cavity to hub values was evaluated on four levels: resection cavity, lobar, hemisphere, and temporal versus extratemporal areas. Results: Hubs were localized within the resection cavity in 8 of 14 seizure-free patients and in zero of 8 patients who were not seizure-free (57% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 73% accuracy). Hubs were localized in the lobe of resection in 9 of 14 seizure-free patients and in zero of 8 patients who were not seizure-free (64% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 77% accuracy). For the other two levels, the true negatives are unknown; hence, only sensitivity could be determined: hubs coincided with both the resection hemisphere and the resection location (temporal versus extratemporal) in 11 of 14 seizure-free patients (79% sensitivity). Significance: Identifying hubs noninvasively before surgery is a valuable approach with the potential of indicating the epileptogenic zone in patients without interictal abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Beamformer-based virtual electrodes
  • Betweenness centrality
  • Epilepsy
  • Functional network
  • Hub
  • Neurosurgery

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