Unilateral hippocampal mossy fiber sprouting and bilateral asymmetric neuron loss with episodic postictal psychosis

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  • 1 Divisions of Neurosurgery and Clinical Neurophysiology, Departments of Neurology and Pathology, and the Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California
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✓ Rarely are both sides of the hippocampus available for pathological study in a patient with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The authors report a patient with TLE investigated with bilateral depth electrodes who had an episode of postictal psychosis. The patient died 4 weeks after temporal lobectomy of unknown reasons, despite complete postmortem examination and clinical evidence of postsurgery seizure control. Pathological examination of surgical and autopsy hippocampal specimens found bilateral asymmetric neuron losses. However, only the resected epileptogenic hippocampus showed the profile of neuron loss typical of mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) and abnormal mossy fiber synaptic reorganization. Quantitative depth electroencephalographic (EEG) analysis of the postictal psychotic event showed that it was not associated with a cluster of seizures, increased postictal depth EEG spike activity, or insufficient antiepileptic medication. These results support the hypothesis that ipsilateral hippocampal epileptogenesis is associated with MTS and mossy fiber sprouting. The results also suggest that the etiology of postictal psychosis in this patient was initiated by an ictal event and the behavior apparently depended on seizure propagation outside the hippocampus. The relevance of these two findings to the literature is discussed.

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