Recent PET results indicate that the benzodiazepine (BZ) receptor density measured with the BZ receptor antagonist [11C]flumazenil is reduced in human epileptic foci. The present study examines the applicability of this finding in the presurgical investigation of patients with intractable partial epilepsy. In eight patients, the PET measurements were performed after injection of the BZ receptor antagonist [11C]flumazenil and [2-18F]2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose ([18F]FDG)--a tracer for measurements of the rate of regional glucose metabolism. The focus localising ability of the two PET tracers was examined using extra--and intracranial EEG recordings as reference. The focus was first determined visually on the PET images obtained after a bolus injection of each of the PET tracers. Its anatomical localisation and spatial delimitation was then evaluated for each patient with a computerised anatomical brain atlas. [11C]flumazenil was found to be a more sensitive and accurate focus localiser than [18F]FDG. This observation was valid both for quantified and non-quantified images. In the preoperative diagnosis of epileptic foci, the PET measurements of BZ receptors may be a suitable and, in some cases, superior method to the generally used "[18F]FDG-PET" method.
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