New resting-state fMRI related studies at PubMed

Microstructural and functional brain abnormalities in multiple sclerosis predicted by osteopontin and neurofilament light

Sun, 04/04/2021 - 10:00

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021 Mar 24;51:102923. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2021.102923. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Osteopontin (OPN) is a proinflammatory biomarker, and neurofilament light chain (NFL) levels reflect axonal damage. Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) defines brain networks during wakeful rest.

OBJECTIVE: To examine, if levels of OPN and NFL are associated on the long term with (i) lesion evolution, (ii) changes in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) microstructure and (iii) functional connectivity in multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS: Concentration of NFL and OPN in the blood and CSF were related to MRI findings 10.3 ± 2.8 years later in 53 patients with MS. NFL was examined by Simoa method, OPN by ELISA. Lesion volume in the brain and cervical spinal cord was examined by 3D FLAIR images. Voxel-wise images of fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), mean diffusivity (MD), and radial diffusivity (RD) were examined by tract-based spatial statistics corrected for gender, age and lesion volume. Metabolites were examined by single-voxel MR-spectroscopy in the NAWM. Fifty-five default mode network connections were examined by rs-fMRI corrected for gender, age, MS subtype and current therapy as covariates.

RESULTS: While NFL in paired serum and CSF positively correlated (p = 0.019), there was no correlation between serum and CSF OPN. Higher OPN levels in the CSF but not in the serum showed association with increased brain WM lesion volume (p = 0.009) in 10.3 ± 2.8 years. Higher OPN in the CSF was associated with reduced FA, increased MD, and reduced RD in different NAWM areas 10.3 ± 2.8 years later. Higher OPN in the serum and CSF were associated with increased connectivity strength between the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and other regions except with inferior parietal lobule. NFL in the CSF and in the serum was associated with decreased connectivity strength except for ventral MPFC-hippocampal formation. Neither serum OPN nor NFL at the time of the MRI were associated with functional connectivity changes.

CONCLUSION: While serum NFL levels reflects CNS production, OPN in serum and CSF may have different cellular sources. OPN within the CSF but not in the serum may forecast development of lesions and microstructural abnormalities in 10 years, indicating the detrimental role of CNS inflammation on the long-term. Although both OPN and NFL in the CSF were associated with functional connectivity changes in 10 years, NFL was associated with decreased strength possibly indicating general axonal loss. In contrast, the positive association of OPN levels in the CSF with increased connectivity strength in 10 years may point to adaptive re-organization due to inflammatory WM lesions and microstructural changes.

PMID:33813096 | DOI:10.1016/j.msard.2021.102923

Diffusion property and functional connectivity of superior longitudinal fasciculus underpin human metacognition

Sun, 04/04/2021 - 10:00

Neuropsychologia. 2021 Apr 1:107847. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107847. Online ahead of print.


Metacognition as the capacity of monitoring one's own cognition operates across domains. Here, we addressed whether metacognition in different cognitive domains rely on common or distinct neural substrates with combined diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques. After acquiring DTI and resting-state fMRI data, we asked participants to perform a temporal-order memory task and a perceptual discrimination task, followed by trial-specific confidence judgments. DTI analysis revealed that the structural integrity (indexed by fractional anisotropy) in the anterior portion of right superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) was associated with both perceptual and mnemonic metacognitive abilities. Using perturbed mnemonic metacognitive scores produced by inhibiting the precuneus using TMS, the mnemonic metacognition scores did not correlate with individuals' SLF structural integrity anymore, revealing the relevance of this tract in memory metacognition. To further verify the involvement of several cortical regions connected by SLF, we took the TMS-targeted precuneus region as a seed in a functional connectivity analysis and found the functional connectivity between precuneus and two SLF-connected regions (inferior parietal cortex and precentral gyrus) mediated mnemonic metacognition performance. These results illustrate the importance of SLF and a putative white-matter grey-matter circuitry that supports human metacognition.

PMID:33812946 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2021.107847

Dynamic FDG PET Imaging to Probe for Cardiac Metabolic Remodeling in Adults Born Premature

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

J Clin Med. 2021 Mar 22;10(6):1301. doi: 10.3390/jcm10061301.


Individuals born very premature have an increased cardiometabolic and heart failure risk. While the structural differences of the preterm heart are now well-described, metabolic insights into the physiologic mechanisms underpinning this risk are needed. Here, we used dynamic fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI) in young adults born term and preterm during normoxic (N = 28 preterm; 18 term) and hypoxic exposure (12% O2; N = 26 preterm; 17 term) to measure the myocardial metabolic rate of glucose (MMRglc) in young adults born term (N = 18) and preterm (N = 32), hypothesizing that young adults born preterm would have higher rates of MMRglc under normoxic conditions and a reduced ability to augment glucose metabolism under hypoxic conditions. MMRglc was calculated from the myocardial and blood pool time-activity curves by fitting the measured activities to the 3-compartment model of FDG kinetics. MMRglc was similar at rest between term and preterm subjects, and decreased during hypoxia exposure in both groups (p = 0.02 for MMRglc hypoxia effect). There were no differences observed between groups in the metabolic response to hypoxia, either globally (serum glucose and lactate measures) or within the myocardium. Thus, we did not find evidence of altered myocardial metabolism in the otherwise healthy preterm-born adult. However, whether subtle changes in myocardial metabolism may preceed or predict heart failure in this population remains to be determined.

PMID:33809883 | DOI:10.3390/jcm10061301

The Effects of 10 Hz and 20 Hz tACS in Network Integration and Segregation in Chronic Stroke: A Graph Theoretical fMRI Study

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 16;11(3):377. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11030377.


Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) has emerged as a promising technique to non-invasively modulate the endogenous oscillations in the human brain. Despite its clinical potential to be applied in routine rehabilitation therapies, the underlying modulation mechanism has not been thoroughly understood, especially for patients with neurological disorders, including stroke. In this study, we aimed to investigate the frequency-specific stimulation effect of tACS in chronic stroke. Thirteen chronic stroke patients underwent tACS intervention, while resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were collected under various frequencies (sham, 10 Hz and 20 Hz). The graph theoretical analysis indicated that 20 Hz tACS might facilitate local segregation in motor-related regions and global integration at the whole-brain level. However, 10 Hz was only observed to increase the segregation from whole-brain level. Additionally, it is also observed that, for the network in motor-related regions, the nodal clustering characteristic was decreased after 10 Hz tACS, but increased after 20 Hz tACS. Taken together, our results suggested that tACS in various frequencies might induce heterogeneous modulation effects in lesioned brains. Specifically, 20 Hz tACS might induce more modulation effects, especially in motor-related regions, and they have the potential to be applied in rehabilitation therapies to facilitate neuromodulation. Our findings might shed light on the mechanism of neural responses to tACS and facilitate effectively designing stimulation protocols with tACS in stroke in the future.

PMID:33809786 | DOI:10.3390/brainsci11030377

Resting-State Functional Connectivity between Putamen and Salience Network and Childhood Body Mass Index

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

Neurol Int. 2021 Mar 4;13(1):85-101. doi: 10.3390/neurolint13010009.


INTRODUCTION: Although the putamen has a significant role in reward-seeking and motivated behaviors, including eating and food-seeking, minorities' diminished returns (MDRs) suggest that individual-level risk and protective factors have weaker effects for Non-Hispanic Black than Non-Hispanic White individuals. However, limited research is available on the relevance of MDRs in terms of the role of putamen functional connectivity on body mass index (BMI).

PURPOSE: Building on the MDRs framework and conceptualizing race and socioeconomic status (SES) indicators as social constructs, we explored racial and SES differences in the associations between putamen functional connectivity to the salience network and children's BMI.

METHODS: For this cross-sectional study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data of 6473 9-10-year-old Non-Hispanic Black and Non-Hispanic White children from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. The primary independent variable was putamen functional connectivity to the salience network, measured by fMRI. The primary outcome was the children's BMI. Age, sex, neighborhood income, and family structure were the covariates. Race, family structure, parental education, and household income were potential moderators. For data analysis, we used mixed-effect models in the overall sample and by race.

RESULTS: Higher right putamen functional connectivity to the salience network was associated with higher BMI in Non-Hispanic White children. The same association was missing for Non-Hispanic Black children. While there was no overall association in the pooled sample, a significant interaction was found, suggesting that the association between right putamen functional connectivity to the salience network and children's BMI was modified by race. Compared to Non-Hispanic White children, Non-Hispanic Black children showed a weaker association between right putamen functional connectivity to the salience network and BMI. While parental education and household income did not moderate our association of interest, marital status altered the associations between putamen functional connectivity to the salience network and children's BMI. These patterns were observed for right but not left putamen. Other/Mixed Race children also showed a pattern similar to Non-Hispanic Black children.

CONCLUSIONS: The association between right putamen functional connectivity to the salience network and children's BMI may depend on race and marital status but not parental education and household income. While right putamen functional connectivity to the salience network is associated with Non-Hispanic White children's BMI, Non-Hispanic Black children' BMI remains high regardless of their putamen functional connectivity to the salience network. This finding is in line with MDRs, which attributes diminished effects of individual-risk and protective factors for Non-Hispanic Black children to racism, stratification, and segregation.

PMID:33806587 | DOI:10.3390/neurolint13010009

Complexity Analysis of the Default Mode Network Using Resting-State fMRI in Down Syndrome: Relationships Highlighted by a Neuropsychological Assessment

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 2;11(3):311. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11030311.


BACKGROUND: Studies on complexity indicators in the field of functional connectivity derived from resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) in Down syndrome (DS) samples and their possible relationship with cognitive functioning variables are rare. We analyze how some complexity indicators estimated in the subareas that constitute the default mode network (DMN) might be predictors of the neuropsychological outcomes evaluating Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and cognitive performance in persons with DS.

METHODS: Twenty-two DS people were assessed with the Kaufman Brief Test of Intelligence (KBIT) and Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB) tests, and fMRI signals were recorded in a resting state over a six-minute period. In addition, 22 controls, matched by age and sex, were evaluated with the same rs-fMRI procedure.

RESULTS: There was a significant difference in complexity indicators between groups: the control group showed less complexity than the DS group. Moreover, the DS group showed more variance in the complexity indicator distributions than the control group. In the DS group, significant and negative relationships were found between some of the complexity indicators in some of the DMN networks and the cognitive performance scores.

CONCLUSIONS: The DS group is characterized by more complex DMN networks and exhibits an inverse relationship between complexity and cognitive performance based on the negative parameter estimates.

PMID:33801471 | DOI:10.3390/brainsci11030311

The Differences in the Whole-Brain Functional Network between Cantonese-Mandarin Bilinguals and Mandarin Monolinguals

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 2;11(3):310. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11030310.


Cantonese-Mandarin bilinguals are logographic-logographic bilinguals that provide a unique population for bilingual studies. Whole brain functional connectivity analysis makes up for the deficiencies of previous bilingual studies on the seed-based approach and helps give a complete picture of the brain connectivity profiles of logographic-logographic bilinguals. The current study is to explore the effect of the long-term logographic-logographic bilingual experience on the functional connectivity of the whole-brain network. Thirty Cantonese-Mandarin bilingual and 30 Mandarin monolingual college students were recruited in the study. Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) was performed to investigate the whole-brain functional connectivity differences by network-based statistics (NBS), and the differences in network efficiency were investigated by graph theory between the two groups (false discovery rate corrected for multiple comparisons, q = 0.05). Compared with the Mandarin monolingual group, Cantonese-Mandarin bilinguals increased functional connectivity between the bilateral frontoparietal and temporal regions and decreased functional connectivity in the bilateral occipital cortex and between the right sensorimotor region and bilateral prefrontal cortex. No significant differences in network efficiency were found between the two groups. Compared with the Mandarin monolinguals, Cantonese-Mandarin bilinguals had no significant discrepancies in network efficiency. However, the Cantonese-Mandarin bilinguals developed a more strongly connected subnetwork related to language control, inhibition, phonological and semantic processing, and memory retrieval, whereas a weaker connected subnetwork related to visual and phonology processing, and speech production also developed.

PMID:33801390 | DOI:10.3390/brainsci11030310

Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Mathematical Expertise

Sat, 04/03/2021 - 10:00

Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 28;11(4):430. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11040430.


To what extent are different levels of expertise reflected in the functional connectivity of the brain? We addressed this question by using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in mathematicians versus non-mathematicians. To this end, we investigated how the two groups of participants differ in the correlation of their spontaneous blood oxygen level-dependent fluctuations across the whole brain regions during resting state. Moreover, by using the classification algorithm in machine learning, we investigated whether the resting-state fMRI networks between mathematicians and non-mathematicians were distinguished depending on features of functional connectivity. We showed diverging involvement of the frontal-thalamic-temporal connections for mathematicians and the medial-frontal areas to precuneus and the lateral orbital gyrus to thalamus connections for non-mathematicians. Moreover, mathematicians who had higher scores in mathematical knowledge showed a weaker connection strength between the left and right caudate nucleus, demonstrating the connections' characteristics related to mathematical expertise. Separate functional networks between the two groups were validated with a maximum classification accuracy of 91.19% using the distinct resting-state fMRI-based functional connectivity features. We suggest the advantageous role of preconfigured resting-state functional connectivity, as well as the neural efficiency for experts' successful performance.

PMID:33800679 | DOI:10.3390/brainsci11040430

Shared and distinct homotopic connectivity changes in melancholic and non-melancholic depression

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

J Affect Disord. 2021 Mar 19;287:268-275. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.03.038. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have revealed different neuroimaging features between melancholic and non-melancholic major depressive disorder (MDD). However, homotopic connectivity of melancholic and non-melancholic MDD remains unknown. The present study aimed to explore common and distinct homotopic connectivity patterns of melancholic and non-melancholic MDD and their associations with clinical characteristics.

METHODS: Sixty-four patients with MDD and thirty-two healthy controls were scanned by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC) and pattern classification were applied to analyze the imaging data.

RESULTS: Relative to healthy controls, melancholic patients displayed decreased VMHC in the fusiform gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), superior occipital gyrus (SOG), postcentral gyrus and precentral/postcentral gyrus, and non-melancholic patients displayed decreased VMHC in the PCC. Compared with non-melancholic patients, melancholic patients displayed reduced VMHC in the precentral gyrus and precentral/postcentral gyrus. Support vector machine (SVM) results exhibited VMHC in the precentral gyrus could distinguish melancholic patients from non-melancholic patients with more than 0.6 for specificity, sensitivity and accuracy.

CONCLUSION: The study demonstrated common and distinct homotopic connectivity patterns in melancholic and non-melancholic patients. Decreased VMHC in the PCC may be a state-related change for depression, and reduced VMHC in the precentral gyrus and postcentral gyrus may be a distinctive neurobiological feature for melancholic MDD. VMHC in precentral gyrus might be served as potential imaging markers to discriminate melancholic patients from non-melancholic MDD.

PMID:33799047 | DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2021.03.038

Contributions from resting state functional connectivity and familial risk to early adolescent-onset MDD: Results from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

J Affect Disord. 2021 Mar 16;287:229-239. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.03.031. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Family history of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a robust predictor of MDD onset, especially in early adolescence. We examined the relationships between familial risk for depression and alterations to resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) within the default mode network (wDMN) and between the DMN and the left/right hippocampus (DMN-LHIPP/DMN-RHIPP) to the risk for early adolescent MDD onset.

METHODS: We examined 9403 youth aged nine to eleven from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study. Depressive symptoms were measured with the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist. Both youth and their parents completed the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, which provided MDD diagnoses. A family history screen was administered to determine familial risk for depression. Youth underwent a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, providing us with rsFC data.

RESULTS: Negative wDMN rsFC was associated with child-reported current depression, both child- and parent-reported past depression, and parent-reported current depressive symptoms. No difference was found in wDMN, DMN-LHIPP or DMN-RHIPP rsFC in children with or without familial risk for depression. Familial risk for depression interacted with wDMN rsFC in association with child-reported past MDD diagnosis and parent-reported current depressive symptoms.

LIMITATIONS: Information such as length of depressive episodes and age of onset of depression was not collected.

CONCLUSIONS: Altered wDMN rsFC in youth at familial risk for depression may be associated with increased risk for MDD onset in adolescence, but longitudinal studies are needed to test this hypothesis.

PMID:33799042 | DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2021.03.031

Mapping the Synchronization Effect of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Inhibition on the Cerebral Cortex Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

Brain Connect. 2021 Apr 1. doi: 10.1089/brain.2020.0844. Online ahead of print.


Background: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of spontaneous brain activity permits the identification of functional networks on the basis of region synchrony. The functional coupling between the elements of a neural system increases during brain activation. However, neural synchronization may also be the effect of inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons in states of brain inhibition such as sleep or pharmacological sedation. We investigated the effects of an oral dose of alprazolam, a classical benzodiazepine known to enhance inhibitory neurotransmission, using recently developed measures of local functional connectivity. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 32 non-treatment-seeking individuals with social anxiety underwent two identical resting-state fMRI sessions on separate days after receiving 0.75 mg of alprazolam and placebo. Functional connectivity maps of the cerebral cortex were generated by using multidistance functional connectivity measures defined within iso-distant local areas. Results: Relative to placebo, increased intracortical functional connectivity was observed in the alprazolam condition in visual, auditory, and sensorimotor cortices, and in areas of sensory integration such as the posterior insula and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Alprazolam significantly reduced subjective arousal compared with placebo, and the change was associated with variations in multidistance functional connectivity measures in the OFC. Discussion: In conclusion, we report evidence that alprazolam significantly modifies neural activity coupling at rest in the form of functional connectivity enhancement within the cerebral cortex. The effect of alprazolam was particularly evident in the cortical sensory system, which would further suggest a differentiated effect of GABA inhibition on sensory processing.

PMID:33797949 | DOI:10.1089/brain.2020.0844

Resting State Functional Connectivity Associated With Sahaja Yoga Meditation

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

Front Hum Neurosci. 2021 Mar 16;15:614882. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.614882. eCollection 2021.


Neuroscience research has shown that meditation practices have effects on brain structure and function. However, few studies have combined information on the effects on structure and function in the same sample. Long-term daily meditation practice produces repeated activity of specific brain networks over years of practice, which may induce lasting structural and functional connectivity (FC) changes within relevant circuits. The aim of our study was therefore to identify differences in FC during the resting state between 23 Sahaja Yoga Meditation experts and 23 healthy participants without meditation experience. Seed-based FC analysis was performed departing from voxels that had shown structural differences between these same participants. The contrast of connectivity maps yielded that meditators showed increased FC between the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex but reduced FC between the left insula and the bilateral mid-cingulate as well as between the right angular gyrus and the bilateral precuneus/cuneus cortices. It thus appears that long-term meditation practice increases direct FC between ventral and dorsal frontal regions within brain networks related to attention and cognitive control and decreases FC between regions of these networks and areas of the default mode network.

PMID:33796013 | PMC:PMC8007769 | DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2021.614882

Echo Time Dependency of Local Activity Metrics of Resting-State Functional MRI

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

Front Neurosci. 2021 Mar 16;15:619412. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.619412. eCollection 2021.


Local activity metrics of resting-state functional MRI (RS-fMRI), such as the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF), fractional ALFF (fALFF), regional homogeneity (ReHo), and degree centrality (DC), are widely used to detect brain abnormalities based on signal fluctuations. Although signal changes with echo time (TE) have been widely studied, the effect of TE on local activity metrics has not been investigated. RS-fMRI datasets from 12 healthy subjects with eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) were obtained with a four-echo gradient-echo-planar imaging pulse sequence with the following parameters: repetition time/TE1/TE2/TE3/TE4 = 2,000/13/30.93/48.86/66.79 ms. Six representative regions were selected for simulating the spatial feature of TE dependency of local activity metrics. Moreover, whole-brain local activity metrics were calculated from each echo dataset and compared between EO and EC conditions. Dice overlap coefficient (DOC) was then employed to calculate the overlap between the T maps. We found that all the local activity metrics displayed different TE dependency characteristics, while their overall change patterns were similar: an initial large change followed by a slow variation. The T maps for local activity metrics also varied greatly with TE. For ALFF, fALFF, ReHo, and DC, the DOCs for voxels in four TE datasets were 6.87, 0.73, 5.08, and 0.93%, respectively. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that local metrics are greatly dependent on TE. Therefore, TE should be carefully considered for the optimization of data acquisition and multi-center data analysis in RS-fMRI.

PMID:33796007 | PMC:PMC8008056 | DOI:10.3389/fnins.2021.619412

A Resting-state Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Whole-brain Functional Connectivity of Voxel Levels in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Depressive Symptoms

Fri, 04/02/2021 - 10:00

J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2021 Apr 30;27(2):248-256. doi: 10.5056/jnm20209.


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Depressive symptom is one of the most common symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but its pathogenetic mechanisms remain unclear. As a voxel-level graph theory analysis method, degree centrality (DC) can provide a new perspective for exploring the abnormalities of whole-brain functional network of IBS with depressive symptoms (DEP-IBS).

METHODS: DC, voxel-wise image and clinical symptoms correlation and seed-based functional connectivity (FC) analyses were performed in 28 DEP-IBS patients, 21 IBS without depressive symptoms (nDEP-IBS) patients and 36 matched healthy controls (HC) to reveal the abnormalities of whole brain FC in DEP-IBS.

RESULTS: Compared to nDEP-IBS patients and HC, DEP-IBS patients showed significant decrease of DC in the left insula and increase of DC in the left precentral gyrus. The DC's z-scores of the left insula negatively correlated with depression severity in DEP-IBS patients. Compared to nDEP-IBS patients, DEP-IBS patients showed increased left insula-related FC in the left inferior parietal lobule and right inferior occipital gyrus, and decreased left insula-related FC in the left precentral gyrus, right supplementary motor area (SMA), and postcentral gyrus. In DEP-IBS patients, abstracted clusters' mean FC in the right SMA negatively correlated with depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: DEP-IBS patients have abnormal FC in brain regions associated with the fronto-limbic and sensorimotor networks, especially insula and SMA, which explains the vicious circle between negative emotion and gastrointestinal symptoms in IBS. Identification of such alterations may facilitate earlier and more accurate diagnosis of depression in IBS, and development of effective treatment strategies.

PMID:33795543 | DOI:10.5056/jnm20209

Characterizing changes in network connectivity following chronic head trauma in special forces military personnel: a combined resting-fMRI and DTI study

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:00

Brain Inj. 2021 Apr 1:1-9. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2021.1906951. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Soldiers are exposed to significant repetitive head trauma, which may disrupt functional and structural brain connectivity patterns.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: Integrate resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to characterize changes in connectivity biomarkers within Canadian Special Operations Forces (CANSOF), hypothesizing that alterations in architectural organization of cortical hubs may follow chronic repetitive head trauma.

METHODS: Fifteen CANSOFs with a history of chronic exposure to sub-concussive head trauma and concussive injuries (1.9 ± 2.0 concussions (range: [0-6])), as well as an equal age-matched cohort of controls (CTLs) were recruited. BOLD-based rs-fMRI was combined with DTI to reconstruct functional and structural networks using independent component analyses and probabilistic tractography. Connectivity markers were computed based on the distance between functional seeds to assess for possible differences in injury susceptibility of short- and long-range connections.

RESULTS/DISCUSSION: Significant hyper- and hypo-connectivity differences in cortical connections were observed suggesting that chronic head trauma may predispose soldiers to changes in the functional organization of brain networks. Significant structural alterations in axonal fibers directly connecting disrupted functional nodes were specific to hyper-connected long-range connections, suggesting a potential relationship between axonal injury and increases in neural recruitment following repetitive head trauma from high-exposure military duties.

PMID:33792439 | DOI:10.1080/02699052.2021.1906951

Changes in Resting-State Functional Connectivity of Cerebellum in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease: A Case-Control Study

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:00

Front Syst Neurosci. 2021 Mar 10;15:596221. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2021.596221. eCollection 2021.


This case-control study is aimed to investigate the correlation of altered functional connectivity (FC) in cerebellum with cognitive impairment in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The morphometric and resting-state FC MRI analysis including 46 participants with AD, 32 with aMCI and 42 age-matched normal controls (NCs) were conducted. We compared the cerebellar gray matter volume and cerebellar FC with cerebral cortical regions among three groups. To investigate the relationship of cerebellar FC with cognition, we measure the correlation of significant altered FC and individual cognitive domain. No significant morphometric differences of cerebellum was observed across three groups. The patients with AD had weaker cerebral cortical FCs in bilateral Crus I and left VIIb compared to NCs, and in bilateral Crus I compared to patients with aMCI. For patients with aMCI, the weaker FC were found between right Crus I, left VIIb and cerebral cortical regions compared to NCs. The strength of left cerebellar FC positively correlated with specific cognitive subdomains, including memory, executive function, visuospatial function, and global cognition in AD and aMCI. These findings demonstrated the alteration of cerebellar FC with cerebral cortical regions, and the correlation of cerebellar FC and cognitive impairment in AD and aMCI.

PMID:33790747 | PMC:PMC8006280 | DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2021.596221

The Insula Is a Hub for Functional Brain Network in Patients With Anti-<em>N</em>-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Encephalitis

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:00

Front Neurosci. 2021 Mar 15;15:642390. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2021.642390. eCollection 2021.


BACKGROUND: In recent years, imaging technologies have been rapidly evolving, with an emphasis on the characterization of brain structure changes and functional imaging in patients with autoimmune encephalitis. However, the neural basis of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis and its linked cognitive decline is unclear. Our research aimed to assess changes in the functional brain network in patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis and whether these changes lead to cognitive impairment.

METHODS: Twenty-one anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients and 22 age-, gender-, and education status-matched healthy controls were assessed using resting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning and neuropsychological tests, including the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD24), the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA). A functional brain network was constructed using fMRI, and the topology of the network parameters was analyzed using graph theory. Next, we extracted the aberrant topological parameters of the functional network as seeds and compared causal connectivity with the whole brain. Lastly, we explored the correlation of aberrant topological structures with deficits in cognitive performance.

RESULTS: Relative to healthy controls, anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients exhibited decreased MoCA scores and increased HAMA and HAMD24 scores (p < 0.05). The nodal clustering coefficient and nodal local efficiency of the left insula (Insula_L) were significantly decreased in anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients (p < 0.05 following Bonferroni correction). Moreover, anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients showed a weakened causal connectivity from the left insula to the left inferior parietal lobe (Parietal_Inf_L) compared to healthy controls. Conversely, the left superior parietal lobe (Parietal_sup_L) exhibited an enhanced causal connectivity to the left insula in anti-NMDAR encephalitis patients compared to controls. Unexpectedly, these alterations were not correlated with any neuropsychological test scores.

CONCLUSION: This research describes topological abnormalities in the functional brain network in anti-NMDAR encephalitis. These results will be conducive to understand the structure and function of the brain network of patients with anti-NMDAR encephalitis and further explore the neuropathophysiological mechanisms.

PMID:33790737 | PMC:PMC8005702 | DOI:10.3389/fnins.2021.642390

An integrated multimodal model of alcohol use disorder generated by data-driven causal discovery analysis

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 10:00

Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 31;4(1):435. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01955-z.


Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has high prevalence and adverse societal impacts, but our understanding of the factors driving AUD is hampered by a lack of studies that describe the complex neurobehavioral mechanisms driving AUD. We analyzed causal pathways to AUD severity using Causal Discovery Analysis (CDA) with data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP; n = 926 [54% female], 22% AUD [37% female]). We applied exploratory factor analysis to parse the wide HCP phenotypic space (100 measures) into 18 underlying domains, and we assessed functional connectivity within 12 resting-state brain networks. We then employed data-driven CDA to generate a causal model relating phenotypic factors, fMRI network connectivity, and AUD symptom severity, which highlighted a limited set of causes of AUD. The model proposed a hierarchy with causal influence propagating from brain connectivity to cognition (fluid/crystalized cognition, language/math ability, & working memory) to social (agreeableness/social support) to affective/psychiatric function (negative affect, low conscientiousness/attention, externalizing symptoms) and ultimately AUD severity. Our data-driven model confirmed hypothesized influences of cognitive and affective factors on AUD, while underscoring that addiction models need to be expanded to highlight the importance of social factors, amongst others.

PMID:33790384 | DOI:10.1038/s42003-021-01955-z

Assessment of spontaneous brain activity patterns in patients with iridocyclitis: a resting-state study

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 10:00

Neuroreport. 2021 Mar 30. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000001631. Online ahead of print.


Several studies demonstrated that patients with iridocyclitis were associated with vision loss and cognitive decline, whereas alterations in spontaneous brain activity occur in iridocyclitis patients remains unknown. The study aimed to explore spontaneous brain activity changes in iridocyclitis patients. Twenty-six patients with iridocyclitis and 26 healthy controls were finally included in our study. Resting-state MRI (rs-MRI) scan was conducted on both groups and the whole brain amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFFs) value was collected to assess differences in spontaneous brain activity. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was analyzed to distinguish between the fMRI data of patients with iridocyclitis and healthy controls. Patients with iridocyclitis showed significantly lower ALFF values in the right inferior parietal lobule, right calcarine, right superior temporal gyrus and right precentral gyrus compared to healthy controls and significantly higher ALFF values in the left superior frontal gyrus (P < 0.01, false discovery rate correction). The ROC curve analysis of different brain areas showed that the accuracies of ALFF value specificity between the iridocyclitis and healthy controls of the area under the curve were over 0.8. Our study highlighted an altered spontaneous activity in multiple brain regions, including the visual cortex, default-mode network, auditory area and sensorimotor areas in iridocyclitis. This may provide valuable information about underlying pathogenic mechanisms of iridocyclitis. These findings also indicate that rs-fMRI serves as a potential tool in the disease detection and evaluation of neurologic impairment in iridocyclitis.

PMID:33789337 | DOI:10.1097/WNR.0000000000001631

A comprehensive macaque fMRI pipeline and hierarchical atlas

Wed, 03/31/2021 - 10:00

Neuroimage. 2021 Mar 28:117997. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117997. Online ahead of print.


Functional neuroimaging research in the non-human primate (NHP) has been advancing at a remarkable rate. The increase in available data establishes a need for robust analysis pipelines designed for NHP neuroimaging and accompanying template spaces to standardize the localization of neuroimaging results. Our group recently developed the NIMH Macaque Template (NMT), a high-resolution population average anatomical template and associated neuroimaging resources, providing researchers with a standard space for macaque neuroimaging (Seidlitz et al., 2018a). Here, we release NMT v2, which includes both symmetric and asymmetric templates in stereotaxic orientation, with improvements in spatial contrast, processing efficiency, and segmentation. We also introduce the Cortical Hierarchy Atlas of the Rhesus Macaque (CHARM), a hierarchical parcellation of the macaque cerebral cortex with varying degrees of detail. These tools have been integrated into the neuroimaging analysis software AFNI (Cox, 1996) to provide a comprehensive and robust pipeline for fMRI processing, visualization and analysis of NHP data. AFNI's new @animal_warper program can be used to efficiently align anatomical scans to the NMT v2 space, and integrates these results with full fMRI processing using macaque-specific parameters: from motion correction through regression modeling. Taken together, the NMT v2 and AFNI represent an all-in-one package for macaque functional neuroimaging analysis, as demonstrated with available demos for both task and resting state fMRI.

PMID:33789138 | DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117997