Voxel-based morphometry in epileptic baboons: Parallels to human juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

C. Ákos Szabó, Felipe S. Salinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The epileptic baboon represents a natural model for genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE), closely resembling juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME). Due to functional neuroimaging and pathological differences between epileptic (SZ+) and asymptomatic control (CTL) baboons, we expected structural differences in gray matter concentration (GMC) using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). Standard anatomical (MP-RAGE) MRI scans using a 3T Siemens TIM Trio (Siemens, Erlangen, Germany) were available in 107 baboons (67 females; mean age 16 ± 6 years) with documented clinical histories and scalp-electroencephalography (EEG) results. For neuroimaging, baboons were anesthetized with isoflurane 1% (1-1.5 MAC) and paralyzed with vecuronium (0.1-0.3 mg/kg). Data processing and analysis were performed using FSL's VBM toolbox. GMC was compared between CTL and SZ+ baboons, epileptic baboons with interictal epileptic discharges on scalp EEG (SZ+/IED+), asymptomatic baboons with abnormal EEGs (SZ-/IED+), and IED+ baboons with (IED+/PS+) and without (IED+/PS-) photosensitivity, and the subgroups amongst themselves. Age and gender related changes in gray matter volumes were also included as confound regressors in the VBM analyses of each animal group. Significant increases in GMC were noted in the SZ+/IED+ subgroup compared to the CTL group, including bilaterally in the frontopolar, orbitofrontal and anterolateral temporal cortices, while decreases in GMC were noted in the right more than left primary visual cortices and in the specific nuclei of the thalamus, including reticular, anterior and medial dorsal nuclei. No significant differences were noted otherwise, except that SZ+/IED+ baboons demonstrated increased GMC in the globus pallidae bilaterally compared to the SZ-/IED+ group. Similar to human studies of JME, the epileptic baboons demonstrated GMC decreases in the thalami and occipital cortices, suggesting secondary injury due to chronic epilepsy. Cortical GMC, on the other hand, was increased in the anterior frontal and temporal lobes, also consistent with human JME studies. This VBM study may indicate a combination of developmental and acquired structural changes in the epileptic baboon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy Research
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Baboon
  • Genetic generalized epilepsy
  • MRI
  • Photosensitivity
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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