The majority of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) experience disturbances of episodic memory from structural damage or dysfunction of the hippocampus. The objective of this study was to use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to identify regions where resting state connectivity to the left hippocampus (LH) is correlated with neuropsychological measures of verbal memory retention in TLE patients. Eleven left TLE (LTLE) patients and 15 control subjects participated in resting state fMRI scans. All LTLE patients underwent neuropsychological testing. Resting state functional connectivity maps to the LH were calculated for each patient, and subsequently used in a multiple regression analysis with verbal memory retention scores as a covariate. The analysis identified brain regions whose connectivity to the LH was linearly related to memory retention scores across the group of patients. In LTLE patients, right sided (contralateral) clusters in the precuneus and inferior parietal lobule (IPL) exhibited increased connectivity to the LH with increased memory retention score; left sided (ipsilateral) regions in the precuneus and IPL showed increased connectivity to the LH with decreased retention score. Patients with high memory retention scores had greater connectivity between the LH-right parietal clusters than between the LH-left parietal clusters; in contrast, control subjects had significantly and consistently greater LH-left hemisphere than LH-right hemisphere connectivity. Our results suggest that increased connectivity in contralateral hippocampal functional pathways within the episodic verbal memory network represents a strengthening of alternative pathways in LTLE patients with strong verbal memory retention abilities.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.