Functional PET Evaluation of the Photosensitive Baboon

C. Ákos Szabó*, 1, Felipe S Salinas 2, Shalini Narayana 2
1 South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, University of Texas Health Science Cen-ter, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA
2 Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA

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open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Neurology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 8300 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-7883, USA; Tel: (210) 450-0527; Fax: (210) 562-9367; E-mail:


The baboon provides a unique, natural model of epilepsy in nonhuman primates. Additionally, photosensitivity of the epileptic baboon provides an important window into the mechanism of human idiopathic generalized epilepsies. In order to better understand the networks underlying this model, our group utilized functional positron emission tomography (PET) to compare cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes occurring during intermittent light stimulation (ILS) and rest between baboons photosensitive, epileptic (PS) and asymptomatic, control (CTL) animals. Our studies utilized subtraction and covariance analyses to evaluate CBF changes occurring during ILS across activation and resting states, but also evaluated CBF correlations with ketamine doses and interictal epileptic discharge (IED) rate during the resting state. Furthermore, our group also assessed the CBF responses related to variation of ILS in PS and CTL animals. CBF changes in the subtraction and covariance analyses reveal the physiological response and visual connectivity in CTL animals and pathophysiological networks underlying responses associated with the activation of ictal and interictal epileptic discharges in PS animals. The correlation with ketamine dose is essential to understanding differences in CBF responses between both groups, and correlations with IED rate provides an insight into an epileptic network independent of visual activation. Finally, the ILS frequency dependent changes can help develop a framework to study not only spatial connectivity but also the temporal sequence of regional activations and deactivations related to ILS. The maps generated by the CBF analyses will be used to target specific nodes in the epileptic network for electrophysiological evaluation using intracranial electrodes.

Keywords: Idiopathic Generalized Epilepsy, Photosensitivity, Papio, Neuroimaging, Positron Emission Tomography.