Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Feb 2021)

Functional Connectivity Derived From Electroencephalogram in Pharmacoresistant Epileptic Encephalopathy Using Cannabidiol as Adjunctive Antiepileptic Therapy

  • Lilia Maria Morales Chacón,
  • Lidice Galan García,
  • Sheyla Berrillo Batista,
  • Judith González González,
  • Abel Sánchez Coroneaux

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15


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To explore brain function using functional connectivity and network topology derived from electroencephalogram (EEG) in patients with pharmacoresistant epileptic encephalopathy with cannabidiol as adjunctive antiepileptic treatment. Sixteen epileptic patients participated in the study, six of whom had epileptic encephalopathy with a stable dose of cannabidiol Epidiolex (CBD) as adjunctive therapy. Functional connectivity derived from EEG was analyzed based on the synchronization likelihood (SL). The analysis also included reconstructing graph-theoretic measures from the synchronization matrix. Comparison of functional connectivity data between each pathological group with the control group was carried out using a nonparametric permutation test applied to SL values between pairs of electrodes for each frequency band. To compare the association patterns between graph-theoretical properties of each pathological group with the control group, Z Crawford was calculated as a measure of distance. There were differences between pairs of electrodes in all frequency bands evaluated in encephalopathy epileptic patients with CBD adjunctive therapy compared with the control (p < 0.05, permutation test). In the epileptic encephalopathy group without CBD therapy, the SL values were higher than in the control group for the beta, theta, and delta EEG frequency bands, and lower for the alpha frequency band. Interestingly, patients who had CBD as adjunctive therapy demonstrated greater synchronization for all frequency bands, showing less spatial distribution for alpha frequency compared with the control. When comparing both epileptic groups, those patients who had adjunctive CBD treatment also showed increased synchronization for all frequency bands. In epileptic encephalopathy with adjunctive CBD therapy, the pattern of differences for graph-theoretical measures according to Z Crawford indicated less segregation and greater integration suggesting a trend towards the random organization of the network principally for alpha and beta EEG bands. This exploratory study revealed a tendency to an overconnectivity with a random network topology mainly for fast EEG bands in epileptic encephalopathy patients using CBD adjunctive therapy. It can therefore be assumed that the CBD treatment could be related to inhibition of the transition of the interictal to ictal state and/or to the improvement of EEG organization and brain function.