Vascular topology and blood flow are acutely impacted by experimental febrile status epilepticus

Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow &Metabolism, Ahead of Print. Febrile status epilepticus (FSE) is an important risk factor for temporal lobe epilepsy and early identification of those at high risk for epilepsy is vital. In a rat model of FSE, we identified an acute (2?hrs) novel MRI signal where reduced T2 relaxation values in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) predicted epilepsy in adulthood; this T2 signal remains incompletely understood and we hypothesized that it may be influenced by vascular topology. Experimental FSE induced in rat pups reduced blood vessel density of the cortical vasculature in a lateralized manner at 2?hrs post FSE. Middle cerebral artery (MCA) exhibited abnormal topology in FSE pups but not in controls. In the BLA, significant vessel junction reductions and decreased vessel diameter were observed, together with a strong trend for reduced vessel length. Perfusion weighted MRI (PWI) was acutely increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) in cortex, amygdala and hippocampus of FSE pups that correlated to decreased T2 relaxation values compared to controls. This is consistent with increased levels of deoxyhemoglobin associated with increased metabolic demand. In summary, FSE acutely modifies vascular topological and CBF in cortex and BLA that may underlie acute MRI signal changes that predict progression to future epilepsy.