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Electrical stimulation of the medial orbitofrontal cortex in humans elicits pleasant olfactory perceptions

Bérard, Nadia
Published in Epilepsy & Behavior. 2020, 107559
Abstract Background: Olfactory hallucinations can be part of epileptic seizures of orbitofrontal origin. Olfactory hallucinations, however, are rare and therefore the semiology, localization and lateralization characteristics are underdetermined. In addition, many discrepancies are found in the literature regarding olfactory processing and orbitofrontal (OF) functions and olfactory function. Particularly, the questions of laterality and affective component in coding of odors in the OF cortex remain controversial. Aims: This study explored whether cortical electrical stimulation of the OF and mesiotemporal brain can trigger olfactory hallucinations with special focus on olfactory percepts in terms of laterality and hedonics. Materials and methods: Eight patients with temporal lobe epilepsy participated in the study, at the time of invasive exploration of their epilepsy. The most distal contact of the OF and anterior hippocampus depth electrodes were stimulated (50 Hz, 0.2 ms biphasic pulse; maximal stimulation 4 mA). Patients were instructed to report any kind of sensation they might experience. Intracranial depth electrodes were localized (iElectrodes): subject-specific brain mask, subcortical segmentation and cortical parcellation based on the Destrieux atlas (FreeSurfer) were superposed to the coregistered T1-weighted MRI and CT images (SPM). The center of mass of each electrode-artifact cluster determined the electrode localization. The electrode labeling was done in patient space. To obtain the electrode coordinates in Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) space, the images obtained previously in the patient space were first segmented and normalized (SPM). Then, the localization procedure (iElectrodes) was run again with these new normalized images in MNI space. Results: No hallucination was evoked by stimulation, neither of the right nor the left hippocampus (8/8 patients). Pleasant olfactory hallucinations were evoked by OF stimulation in 5/8 patients in either hemisphere. Patients named the percept as the smell of lemon or coffee for example. Among those 5 patients, electrodes were localized in the cortex of the olfactory sulcus, medial orbital sulcus or medial OF gyrus. Increasing stimulation amplitude changed the olfactory percept identification in 3 out of those 5 patients. No affective judgement or change in perceived odor intensity was reported by the patients. No hallucination was evoked by the stimulation of the white matter of the medial OF brain in 3/8 patients independently of the hemisphere stimulated. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that stimulation of the cortex of the medial OF brain and not of its white matter elicits specific pleasant olfactory hallucinations independently of the hemisphere stimulated, supporting one symmetrical olfactory processing in human.
Keywords OlfactionEpilepsy surgeryDepth electrodesElectrical stimulationOrbitofrontal brainOlfactory hallucination
PMID: 33243684
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Project FNS: 320030-149804/1
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BÉRARD, Nadia et al. Electrical stimulation of the medial orbitofrontal cortex in humans elicits pleasant olfactory perceptions. In: Epilepsy & Behavior, 2020, p. 107559. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107559 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:146782

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Deposited on : 2020-12-18

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