The basal ganglia, a brain structure related to motor control, is implicated in the modulation of epileptic discharges generalization in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). Using group independent component analysis (ICA) on resting-state fMRI data, this study identified a resting state functional network that predominantly consisted of the basal ganglia in both healthy controls and patients with IGE. In order to gain a better understanding of the basal ganglia network(BGN) in IGE patients, we compared the BGN functional connectivity of controls with that of epilepsy patients, either with interictal epileptic discharges (with-discharge period, WDP) or without epileptic discharge (nondischarge period, NDP) while scanning. Compared with controls, functional connectivity of BGN in IGE patients demonstrated significantly more integration within BGN except cerebellum and supplementary motor area (SMA) during both periods. Compared with the NDP group, the increased functional connectivity was found in bilateral caudate nucleus and the putamen, and decreases were observed in the bilateral cerebellum and SMA in WDP group. In accord with the proposal that the basal ganglia modulates epileptic discharge activity, the results showed that the modulation enhanced the integration in BGN of patients, and modulation during WDP was stronger than that during NDP. Furthermore, reduction of functional connectivity in cerebellum and SMA, the abnormality might be further aggravated during WDP, was consistent with the behavioral manifestations with disturbed motor function in IGE. These resting-state fMRI findings in the current study provided evidence confirming the role of the BGN as an important modulator in IGE.
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