Proton spectroscopy of the thalamus in a homogeneous sample of patients with easy-to-control juvenile myoclonic epilepsy

Abstract Objective: Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a subtype of genetically determined generalized epilepsy that does not present abnormalities on conventional magnetic resonance imaging. The aim of this study was to identify metabolic alterations in the thalamus in a clinically homogeneous sample of patients with easy-to-control JME, using short-echo time proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Materials and Methods: We performed single-voxel (2 cm × 2 cm × 2 cm), short-echo time (TE = 35 ms) proton MRS of the thalamus in 21 patients with JME and in 14 healthy age-matched controls. We quantified N-acetylaspartate (NAA), total NAA, creatine (Cr), choline, and myo-inositol (MI), as well as the sum of glutamate and glutamine signals, all scaled to internal water content, and we calculated metabolite ratios using Cr as a reference. Values of p < 0.05 were considered significant. Results: The MI level and the MI/Cr ratio were significantly lower in the thalami of patients diagnosed with JME than in those of the controls. Other metabolites and their ratios did not differ significantly between the two groups. Conclusion: In our sample of 21 JME patients, we identified lower levels of MI in the thalamus. No significant abnormalities were observed in the concentrations or ratios of other metabolites.