Structure and function of language networks in temporal lobe epilepsy

Lawrence P. Binding, Debayan Dasgupta, Davide Giampiccolo, John S. Duncan, Sjoerd B. Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) may have significant language deficits. Language capabilities may further decline following temporal lobe resections. The language network, comprising dispersed gray matter regions interconnected with white matter fibers, may be atypical in individuals with TLE. This review explores the structural changes to the language network and the functional reorganization of language abilities in TLE. We discuss the importance of detailed reporting of patient's characteristics, such as, left- and right-sided focal epilepsies as well as lesional and nonlesional pathological subtypes. These factors can affect the healthy functioning of gray and/or white matter. Dysfunction of white matter and displacement of gray matter function could concurrently impact their ability, in turn, producing an interactive effect on typical language organization and function. Surgical intervention can result in impairment of function if the resection includes parts of this structure-function network that are critical to language. In addition, impairment may occur if language function has been reorganized and is included in a resection. Conversely, resection of an epileptogenic zone may be associated with recovery of cortical function and thus improvement in language function. We explore the abnormality of functional regions in a clinically applicable framework and highlight the differences in the underlying language network. Avoidance of language decline following surgical intervention may depend on tailored resections to avoid critical areas of gray matter and their white matter connections. Further work is required to elucidate the plasticity of the language network in TLE and to identify sub-types of language representation, both of which will be useful in planning surgery to spare language function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1040
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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