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In NeuroImage. Clinical

OBJECTIVE : Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is the most common epileptogenic developmental malformation and a prevalent cause of surgically amenable epilepsy. While cellular and molecular biology data suggest that FCD lesional characteristics lie along a spectrum, this notion remains to be verified in vivo. We tested the hypothesis that machine learning applied to MRI captures FCD lesional variability at a mesoscopic scale.

METHODS : We studied 46 patients with histologically verified FCD Type II and 35 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. We applied consensus clustering, an unsupervised learning technique that identifies stable clusters based on bootstrap-aggregation, to 3 T multicontrast MRI (T1-weighted MRI and FLAIR) features of FCD normalized with respect to distributions in controls.

RESULTS : Lesions were parcellated into four classes with distinct structural profiles variably expressed within and across patients: Class-1 with isolated white matter (WM) damage; Class-2 combining grey matter (GM) and WM alterations; Class-3 with isolated GM damage; Class-4 with GM-WM interface anomalies. Class membership was replicated in two independent datasets. Classes with GM anomalies impacted local function (resting-state fMRI derived ALFF), while those with abnormal WM affected large-scale connectivity (assessed by degree centrality). Overall, MRI classes reflected typical histopathological FCD characteristics: Class-1 was associated with severe WM gliosis and interface blurring, Class-2 with severe GM dyslamination and moderate WM gliosis, Class-3 with moderate GM gliosis, Class-4 with mild interface blurring. A detection algorithm trained on class-informed data outperformed a class-naïve paradigm.

SIGNIFICANCE : Machine learning applied to widely available MRI contrasts uncovers FCD Type II variability at a mesoscopic scale and identifies tissue classes with distinct structural dimensions, functional and histopathological profiles. Integrating in vivo staging of FCD traits with automated lesion detection is likely to inform the development of novel personalized treatments.

Lee Hyo M, Gill Ravnoor S, Fadaie Fatemeh, Cho Kyoo H, Guiot Marie C, Hong Seok-Jun, Bernasconi Neda, Bernasconi Andrea

2020-Sep-18

Cortical dysplasia, Epilepsy, MRI