Most recent paper
Mol Autism. 2021 Mar 1;12(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s13229-021-00415-z.
BACKGROUND: Marked sex differences in autism prevalence accentuate the need to understand the role of biological sex-related factors in autism. Efforts to unravel sex differences in the brain organization of autism have, however, been challenged by the limited availability of female data.
METHODS: We addressed this gap by using a large sample of males and females with autism and neurotypical (NT) control individuals (ABIDE; Autism: 362 males, 82 females; NT: 409 males, 166 females; 7-18 years). Discovery analyses examined main effects of diagnosis, sex and their interaction across five resting-state fMRI (R-fMRI) metrics (voxel-level Z > 3.1, cluster-level P < 0.01, gaussian random field corrected). Secondary analyses assessed the robustness of the results to different pre-processing approaches and their replicability in two independent samples: the EU-AIMS Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP) and the Gender Explorations of Neurogenetics and Development to Advance Autism Research.
RESULTS: Discovery analyses in ABIDE revealed significant main effects of diagnosis and sex across the intrinsic functional connectivity of the posterior cingulate cortex, regional homogeneity and voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC) in several cortical regions, largely converging in the default network midline. Sex-by-diagnosis interactions were confined to the dorsolateral occipital cortex, with reduced VMHC in females with autism. All findings were robust to different pre-processing steps. Replicability in independent samples varied by R-fMRI measures and effects with the targeted sex-by-diagnosis interaction being replicated in the larger of the two replication samples-EU-AIMS LEAP.
LIMITATIONS: Given the lack of a priori harmonization among the discovery and replication datasets available to date, sample-related variation remained and may have affected replicability.
CONCLUSIONS: Atypical cross-hemispheric interactions are neurobiologically relevant to autism. They likely result from the combination of sex-dependent and sex-independent factors with a differential effect across functional cortical networks. Systematic assessments of the factors contributing to replicability are needed and necessitate coordinated large-scale data collection across studies.
Dynamic functional connectome predicts individual working memory performance across diagnostic categories
Neuroimage Clin. 2021 Feb 23;30:102593. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2021.102593. Online ahead of print.
Working memory impairment is a common feature of psychiatric disorders. Although its neural mechanisms have been extensively examined in healthy subjects or individuals with a certain clinical condition, studies investigating neural predictors of working memory in a transdiagnostic sample are scarce. The objective of this study was to create a transdiagnostic predictive working memory model from whole-brain functional connectivity using connectome-based predictive modeling (CPM), a recently developed machine learning approach. Resting-state functional MRI data from 242 subjects across 4 diagnostic categories (healthy controls and individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit/hyperactivity) were used to construct dynamic and static functional connectomes. Spatial working memory was assessed by the spatial capacity task. CPM was conducted to predict individual working memory from dynamic and static functional connectivity patterns. Results showed that dynamic connectivity-based CPM models successfully predicted overall working memory capacity and accuracy as well as mean reaction time, yet their static counterparts fell short in the prediction. At the neural level, we found that dynamic connectivity of the frontoparietal and somato-motor networks were negatively correlated with working memory capacity and accuracy, and those of the default mode and visual networks were positively associated with mean reaction time. Moreover, different feature selection thresholds, parcellation strategies and model validation methods as well as diagnostic categories did not significantly influence the prediction results. Our findings not only are coherent with prior reports that dynamic functional connectivity encodes more behavioral information than static connectivity, but also help advance the translation of cognitive "connectome fingerprinting" into real-world application.
Brain Behav. 2021 Mar 1:e01783. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1783. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Middle-age patients with retinal detachment (RD) exhibit a loss of visual information, and previous studies of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have demonstrated abnormal spontaneous activity in the RD brain. Therefore, this study assessed changes in local functional connectivity density (lFCD) and long-range functional connectivity density (longFCD) in middle-age RD patients during resting-state FC.
METHODS: In total, 32 middle-age patients with RD (18 men and 14 women), and 32 age-, sex-, and education-matched normal controls (NCs) (18 men and 14 women) were recruited and underwent functional magnetic resonance examination in the resting state. Two-sample t test was performed to compare lFCD and longFCD between groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated to distinguish middle-age RD patients from NCs.
RESULTS: Compared with NCs, middle-age RD patients demonstrated increased lFCD values in the right inferior temporal gyrus, and increased longFCD values in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri, left superior and middle frontal gyrus, bilateral inferior temporal gyri, and left cerebellum posterior lobe. Middle-age RD patient exhibited decreased lFCD values in the left cuneus, right lingual gyrus, and left middle frontal gyrus. They also had lower longFCD values in the left lingual gyrus and left inferior occipital gyrus. ROC curve analysis showed excellent accuracy of the specific areas under the curve.
CONCLUSION: Our results reveal that middle-age RD patients exhibited variations of binarized lFCD and longFCD in specific brain areas, which provides insight into the pathological mechanism of RD patients with acute visual loss.
Disrupted Neural Activity in Individuals With Iridocyclitis Using Regional Homogeneity: A Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study
Front Neurol. 2021 Feb 12;12:609929. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.609929. eCollection 2021.
Objective: This study used the regional homogeneity (ReHo) technique to explore whether spontaneous brain activity is altered in patients with iridocyclitis. Methods: Twenty-six patients with iridocyclitis (14 men and 12 women) and 26 healthy volunteers (15 men and 11 women) matched for sex and age were enrolled in this study. The ReHo technique was used to comprehensively assess changes in whole-brain synchronous neuronal activity. The diagnostic ability of the ReHo method was evaluated by means of receive operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Moreover, associations of average ReHo values in different brain areas and clinical characteristics were analyzed using correlation analysis. Result: Compared with healthy volunteers, reduced ReHo values were observed in patients with iridocyclitis in the following brain regions: the right inferior occipital gyrus, bilateral calcarine, right middle temporal gyrus, right postcentral gyrus, left superior occipital gyrus, and left precuneus. In contrast, ReHo values were significantly enhanced in the right cerebellum, left putamen, left supplementary motor area, and left inferior frontal gyrus in patients with iridocyclitis, compared with healthy volunteers (false discovery rate correction, P < 0.05). Conclusion: Patients with iridocyclitis exhibited disturbed synchronous neural activities in specific brain areas, including the visual, motor, and somatosensory regions, as well as the default mode network. These findings offer a novel image-guided research strategy that might aid in exploration of neuropathological or compensatory mechanisms in patients with iridocyclitis.
Abnormal Default-Mode Network Homogeneity in Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment in Chinese Communities
Front Neurol. 2021 Feb 11;11:569806. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.569806. eCollection 2020.
Background and Objective: Current evidence suggests that abnormalities within the default-mode network (DMN) play a key role in the broad-scale cognitive problems that characterize mild cognitive impairment (MCI). However, little is known about the alterations of DMN network homogeneity (NH) in MCI. Methods: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans (rs-fMRI) were collected from 38 MCI patients and 69 healthy controls matched for age, gender, and education. NH approach was employed to analyze the imaging dataset. Cognitive performance was measured with the Chinese version of Alzheimer's disease assessment scale-Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog). Results: Two groups have no significant differences between demographic factors. And mean ADAS-Cog score in MCI was 12.02. MCI patients had significantly lower NH values than controls in the right anterior cingulate cortex and significantly higher NH values in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex(vmPFC) than those in healthy controls. No significant correlations were found between abnormal NH values and ADAS-Cog in the patients. Conclusions: These findings provide further evidence that abnormal NH of the DMN exists in MCI, and highlight the significance of DMN in the pathophysiology of cognitive problems occurring in MCI.
Prog Neurobiol. 2021 Feb 25:102027. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2021.102027. Online ahead of print.
During mammalian evolution, primate neocortex expanded, shifting hippocampal functional networks away from primary sensory cortices, towards association cortices. Reflecting this rerouting, whereas rodent resting functional hippocampal networks include primary sensory cortices, those in humans preferentially include higher association cortices. Research on the visual, auditory and somatosensory systems shows evidence of this rerouting. Olfaction, however, is unique among sensory systems in its relative structural conservation throughout mammalian evolution, and it is unknown whether human primary olfactory cortex was subject to the same rerouting. We combined functional neuroimaging and intracranial electrophysiology to directly compare hippocampal functional networks across human sensory systems. We show that human primary olfactory cortex-including the anterior nucleus, olfactory tubercle and piriform cortex-has stronger functional connectivity with hippocampal networks at rest, compared to several other human sensory systems. This suggests that unlike other sensory systems, olfactory hippocampal connectivity may have been retained in mammalian evolution. Our findings suggest olfaction might provide insight into how memory and cognition depend on hippocampal interactions.
Epilepsy Res. 2021 Feb 18;172:106590. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2021.106590. Online ahead of print.
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) has been considered a network disorder disease in which brain regions extending beyond the epileptogenic zones are always affected. However, abnormalities in white matter (WM) functional networks and their associations with widespread network dysfunction are still being identified in mTLE. Accordingly, we investigated the altered functional activities in WM networks in mTLE using fMRI, which has recently been used to probe WM function. We collected resting-state fMRI data from 39 unilateral mTLE patients with hippocampal sclerosis and 29 healthy controls. Eleven WM networks were clustered according to temporal correlation profile. The functional connectivity (FC) of the WM networks were evaluated and compared between the two groups. Furthermore, we assessed the capacity of WM FC for seizure lateralization. According to our analysis, mTLE led to decreased FC within deep WM networks. In addition, the cortical regions involved in seizure propagation and several brain regions displaying interhemispheric disruption showed enhanced functional coupling with deep WM networks. FCs between the ipsilateral deep WM networks and the insula, temporal lobe, and supramarginal gyrus demonstrated positive correlation with seizure frequency. Moreover, the seizure onset zones of 33 patients out of 39 patients could be correctly lateralized. Our findings reveal functional disruptions in WM networks extending to extratemporal regions, supporting the network disorder hypothesis and suggesting that deep WM networks are key network nodes associated with massive dysfunction in mTLE. Moreover, the FC of the WM represents a potentially useful functional imaging measure for the diagnosis of mTLE.
Neuroimage. 2021 Feb 24:117875. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117875. Online ahead of print.
The concept of cognitive reserve proposes that specific life experiences result in more flexible or resilient cognitive processing allowing some people to cope better with age- or disease-related brain changes than others. Imaging studies seeking to understand the neural implementation of cognitive reserve have most often used task-related fMRI studies. Using that approach, we recently described a task-invariant cognitive-reserve network whose expression correlated with IQ and that moderated between cortical thickness and cognitive performance. Here we sought to identify a pattern of resting BOLD connectivity related to cognitive reserve. We identified a connectome pattern whose connectivity correlated with IQ in both the derivation sample and a separate replication sample. The majority of the edges showing positive relationships with IQ implicate frontal regions. In the derivation sample, connectivity either moderated the relationship between mean cortical thickness and a set of cognitive outcomes or accounted for unique variance in cognitive performance after accounting for cortical thickness. In a replication sample we found that expression of this connectome correlated significantly with the primary endpoint of IQ, and also accounted for unique variance in cognitive performance beyond cortical thickness. Our findings represent an intermediate level of replication and are unlikely to have arisen purely by type-I error. This connectivity pattern therefore meets some of our theoretical criteria for a cognitive reserve-related network and provides insight into the neural implementation of cognitive reserve. Further, expression of this connectome could potentially be used as a direct measure of cognitive reserve, and as an outcome measure for intervention studies that seek to influence cognitive reserve. Future validation of and re-derivation of the pattern in expanded data sets by our and other groups will lead to further improved estimates of cognitive reserve in resting functional connectivity.
Eight-week antidepressant treatment reduces functional connectivity in first-episode drug-naïve patients with major depressive disorder
Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 Feb 27. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25391. Online ahead of print.
Previous neuroimaging studies have revealed abnormal functional connectivity of brain networks in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), but findings have been inconsistent. A recent big-data study found abnormal intrinsic functional connectivity within the default mode network in patients with recurrent MDD but not in first-episode drug-naïve patients with MDD. This study also provided evidence for reduced default mode network functional connectivity in medicated MDD patients, raising the question of whether previously observed abnormalities may be attributable to antidepressant effects. The present study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03294525) aimed to disentangle the effects of antidepressant treatment from the pathophysiology of MDD and test the medication normalization hypothesis. Forty-one first-episode drug-naïve MDD patients were administrated antidepressant medication (escitalopram or duloxetine) for 8 weeks, with resting-state functional connectivity compared between posttreatment and baseline. To assess the replicability of the big-data finding, we also conducted a cross-sectional comparison of resting-state functional connectivity between the MDD patients and 92 matched healthy controls. Both Network-Based Statistic analyses and large-scale network analyses revealed intrinsic functional connectivity decreases in extensive brain networks after treatment, indicating considerable antidepressant effects. Neither Network-Based Statistic analyses nor large-scale network analyses detected significant functional connectivity differences between treatment-naïve patients and healthy controls. In short, antidepressant effects are widespread across most brain networks and need to be accounted for when considering functional connectivity abnormalities in MDD.
Vascular origins of low-frequency oscillations in the cerebrospinal fluid signal in resting-state fMRI: Interpretation using photoplethysmography
Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 Feb 27. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25392. Online ahead of print.
In vivo mapping of cerebrovascular oscillations in the 0.05-0.15 Hz remains difficult. Oscillations in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) represent a possible avenue for noninvasively tracking these oscillations using resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI), and have been used to correct for vascular oscillations in rs-fMRI functional connectivity. However, the relationship between low-frequency CSF and vascular oscillations remains unclear. In this study, we investigate this relationship using fast simultaneous rs-fMRI and photoplethysmogram (PPG), examining the 0.1 Hz PPG signal, heart-rate variability (HRV), pulse-intensity ratio (PIR), and the second derivative of the PPG (SDPPG). The main findings of this study are: (a) signals in different CSF regions are not equivalent in their associations with vascular and tissue rs-fMRI signals; (b) the PPG signal is maximally coherent with the arterial and CSF signals at the cardiac frequency, but coherent with brain tissue at ~0.2 Hz; (c) PIR is maximally coherent with the CSF signal near 0.03 Hz; and (d) PPG-related vascular oscillations only contribute to ~15% of the CSF (and arterial) signal in rs-fMRI. These findings caution against averaging all CSF regions when extracting physiological nuisance regressors in rs-fMRI applications, and indicate the drivers of the CSF signal are more than simply cardiac. Our study is an initial attempt at the refinement and standardization of how the CSF signal in rs-fMRI can be used and interpreted. It also paves the way for using rs-fMRI in the CSF as a potential tool for tracking cerebrovascular health through, for instance, the potential relationship between PIR and the CSF signal.
The default mode network and cognition in Parkinson's disease: A multimodal resting-state network approach
Hum Brain Mapp. 2021 Feb 27. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25393. Online ahead of print.
Involvement of the default mode network (DMN) in cognitive symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) has been reported by resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) studies. However, the relation to metabolic measures obtained by [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is largely unknown. We applied multimodal resting-state network analysis to clarify the association between intrinsic metabolic and functional connectivity abnormalities within the DMN and their significance for cognitive symptoms in PD. PD patients were classified into normal cognition (n = 36) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n = 12). The DMN was identified by applying an independent component analysis to FDG-PET and rsfMRI data of a matched subset (16 controls and 16 PD patients) of the total cohort. Besides metabolic activity, metabolic and functional connectivity within the DMN were compared between the patients' groups and healthy controls (n = 16). Glucose metabolism was significantly reduced in all DMN nodes in both patient groups compared to controls, with the lowest uptake in PD-MCI (p < .05). Increased metabolic and functional connectivity along fronto-parietal connections was identified in PD-MCI patients compared to controls and unimpaired patients. Functional connectivity negatively correlated with cognitive composite z-scores in patients (r = -.43, p = .005). The current study clarifies the commonalities of metabolic and hemodynamic measures of brain network activity and their individual significance for cognitive symptoms in PD, highlighting the added value of multimodal resting-state network approaches for identifying prospective biomarkers.
Paradoxical relationship between distress and functional network topology in phantom sound perception
Prog Brain Res. 2021;260:367-395. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2020.08.007. Epub 2020 Oct 24.
Distress is a domain-general symptom that accompanies several disorders, including tinnitus. Based on previous studies, we know that distress is encoded by changes in functional connectivity between cortical and subcortical regions. However, how distress relates to large-scale brain networks is not yet clear. In the current study, we investigate the relationship between distress and the efficiency of a network by examining its topological properties using resting state fMRI collected from 90 chronic tinnitus patients. The present results indicate that distress negatively correlates with path length and positively correlates with clustering coefficient, small-worldness, and efficiency of information transfer. Specifically, path analysis showed that the relationship between distress and efficiency is significantly mediated by the resilience of the feeder connections and the centrality of the rich-club connections. In other words, the higher the network efficiency, the lower the resilience of the feeder connections and the centrality of the rich-club connections, which in turn reflects in higher distress in tinnitus patients. This indicates a reorganization of the network towards a paradoxically more efficient topology in patients with high distress, potentially explaining their increased rumination on the tinnitus percept itself.
STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELS TO ESTIMATE DYNAMIC EFFECTIVE CONNECTIVITY NETWORKS IN RESTING fMRI. A COMPARISON BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS WITH DOWN SYNDROME AND CONTROLS
Behav Brain Res. 2021 Feb 23:113188. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113188. Online ahead of print.
Emerging evidence suggests that an effective or functional connectivity network does not use a static process over time but incorporates dynamic connectivity that shows changes in neuronal activity patterns. Using structural equation models (SEMs), we estimated a dynamic component of the effective network through the effects (recursive and nonrecursive) between regions of interest (ROIs), taking into account the lag 1 effect. The aim of the paper was to find the best structural equation model (SEM) to represent dynamic effective connectivity in people with Down syndrome (DS) in comparison with healthy controls. Twenty-two people with DS were registered in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) resting-state paradigm for a period of six minutes. In addition, 22 controls, matched by age and sex, were analyzed with the same statistical approach. In both groups, we found the best global model, which included 6 ROIs within the default mode network (DMN). Connectivity patterns appeared to be different in both groups, and networks in people with DS showed more complexity and had more significant effects than networks in control participants. However, both groups had synchronous and dynamic effects associated with ROIs 3 and 4 related to the upper parietal areas in both brain hemispheres as axes of association and functional integration. It is evident that the correct classification of these groups, especially in cognitive competence, is a good initial step to propose a biomarker in network complexity studies.
Mapping the living mouse brain neural architecture: strain-specific patterns of brain structural and functional connectivity
Brain Struct Funct. 2021 Feb 26. doi: 10.1007/s00429-020-02190-8. Online ahead of print.
Mapping brain structural and functional connectivity (FC) became an essential approach in neuroscience as network properties can underlie behavioral phenotypes. In mouse models, revealing strain-related patterns of brain wiring is crucial, since these animals are used to answer questions related to neurological or neuropsychiatric disorders. C57BL/6 and BALB/cJ strains are two of the primary "genetic backgrounds" for modeling brain disease and testing therapeutic approaches. However, extensive literature describes basal differences in the behavioral, neuroanatomical and neurochemical profiles of the two strains, which raises questions on whether the observed effects are pathology specific or depend on the genetic background of each strain. Here, we performed a systematic comparative exploration of brain structure and function of C57BL/6 and BALB/cJ mice using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). We combined deformation-based morphometry (DBM), diffusion MRI and high-resolution fiber mapping (hrFM) along with resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) and demonstrated brain-wide differences in the morphology and "connectome" features of the two strains. Essential inter-strain differences were depicted regarding the size and the fiber density (FD) within frontal cortices, along cortico-striatal, thalamic and midbrain pathways as well as genu and splenium of corpus callosum. Structural dissimilarities were accompanied by specific FC patterns, emphasizing strain differences in frontal and basal forebrain functional networks as well as hubness characteristics. Rs-fMRI data further indicated differences of reward-aversion circuitry and default mode network (DMN) patterns. The inter-hemispherical FC showed flexibility and strain-specific adjustment of their patterns in agreement with the structural characteristics.
Networks Are Associated With Depression in Patients With Parkinson's Disease: A Resting-State Imaging Study
Front Neurosci. 2021 Feb 9;14:573538. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.573538. eCollection 2020.
BACKGROUND: Disturbance of networks was recently proposed to be associated with the occurrence of depression in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the neurobiological mechanism of depression underlying PD remains unclear.
OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to investigate whether intra-network and inter-network brain connectivity is differently changed in PD patients with and without depression (PDD and PDND patients, respectively).
METHODS: Forty-one PDD patients, 64 PDND patients, and 55 healthy controls (HCs) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The default mode network (DMN), executive control network (ECN), salience network (SN), precuneus network (PCUN), and sensorimotor network (SMN) were extracted using independent component analysis (ICA), and then the functional connectivity (FC) values within and between these networks were measured.
RESULTS: PDD patients exhibited abnormal FC values within the DMN, ECN, SN, PCUN, and SMN. In addition, PDD patients demonstrated decreased connectivity between anterior SN (aSN) and bilateral ECN, between posterior SN (pSN) and dorsal DMN (dDMN), and between PCUN and dDMN/SMN/bilateral ECN. Connectivity within the left hippocampus of dDMN and the right medial superior frontal gyrus of aSN was a significant predictor of depression level in PD patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Aberrant intra- and inter-network FC is involved in several important hubs in the large-scale networks, which can be a biomarker for distinguishing PDD from PDND.
Associations between peripheral inflammation and resting state functional connectivity in adolescents
Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Feb 22:S0889-1591(21)00083-0. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.02.018. Online ahead of print.
Relatively little is known about associations between peripheral inflammation and neural function in humans. Neuroimaging studies in adults have suggested that elevated peripheral inflammatory markers are associated with altered resting state functional connectivity (rsFC) in several brain networks associated with mood and cognition. Few studies have examined these associations in adolescents, yet scarce data from adolescents point to different networks than adult studies. The current study examined the associations between peripheral inflammation and rsFC in a community sample of adolescents (n=70; age, 12-15 years; 32 female, 36 male, 2 nonbinary). After blood sampling, an fMRI scan was performed to assess rsFC. Assay for serum inflammatory markers, including interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP), was performed. Results indicated that higher TNF-α was associated with altered rsFC between the right amygdala and left striatum and between the right inferior frontal gyrus and left parietal cortex (p<0.05 whole-brain corrected). Associations with IL-6 and CRP were not significant. In contrast with findings in adults, inflammation may have unique links with the connectivity of the developing adolescent brain. Results have implications for understanding how peripheral inflammation may influence connectivity during adolescence, when neural networks are undergoing major developmental changes.
Brain Res. 2021 Feb 22:147390. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2021.147390. Online ahead of print.
The ovine model could be an effective translational model but remains underexplored. Here, Blood Oxygen Level dependent functional MRI during visual stimulation and resting-state perfusion MRI were explored. We aimed at investigating the impact of isoflurane anesthesia during visual stimulation and evaluate resting cerebral blood flow and cerebral blood volume parameters in the lamb and adult sheep brain. BOLD fMRI and perfusion MRI after a bolus of DOTAREM were conducted in 4 lambs and 6 adult ewes at 3T. A visual stimulation paradigm was delivered during fMRI at increasing isoflurane doses (1- 3%). Robust but weak BOLD responses (0.21± 0.08%) were found in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) up to 3% isoflurane anaesthesia. No significant differences were found beween BOLD responses in the range 1 to 3 % ISO (p>0.05). However, LGN cluster size decreased and functional localization became less reliable at high ISO doses (2.5-3% ISO). BOLD responses were weaker in adult sheep than in lambs (4.6 ± 1.5 versus 13.6 ± 8.5; p=0.08). Relative cerebral blood volumes (rCBV) and relative cerebral blood flows (rCBF) were significantly higher (p< 0.0001) in lambs than in adult sheep for both gray and white matter. The impact of volatile anesthesia was explored for the first time on BOLD responses demonstrating increased reliability of functional localization of brain activity at low doses. Perfusion MRI was conducted for the first time in both lambs and adult ewes. Assessment of baseline cerebrovascular values are of interest for future studies of brain diseases allowing an improved interpretation of BOLD responses.
Maladaptive brain organization at one month into abstinence as indicator for future relapse in patients with alcohol use disorder
Eur J Neurosci. 2021 Feb 25. doi: 10.1111/ejn.15161. Online ahead of print.
Abstinence is a lifelong endeavor, and the risk of a relapse is always present for patients with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). The aim of the study was to better understand specific characteristics of the intrinsic whole-brain-network architecture of 34 AUD patients that may support abstinence or relapse. We used Graph Theory Analysis (GTA) of resting-state fMRI data from treatment seekers at 1 month of abstinence and their follow-up data as abstainers or relapsers 3 months later, together with data from 30 light/non-drinking controls scanned at the same interval. We determined the group-specific intrinsic community configurations at both timepoints as well as the corresponding modularity Q, a GTA measure that quantifies how well individual network communities are separated from each other. Both AUD groups at both timepoints had community configurations significantly different from those of controls, but the three groups did not significantly differ in their Q values. However, relapsers showed a maladaptive community configuration at baseline, which became more similar to the controls' community organization after the relapsers had started consuming alcohol again during the study interval. Additionally, successful recovery from AUD was not associated with re-gaining the intrinsic brain organization found in light/non-drinkers, but with a re-configuration resulting in a new brain organization distinctly different from that of healthy controls. Resting state fMRI provides useful measures reflecting neuroplastic adaptations related to AUD treatment outcome.
Working memory network plasticity after exercise intervention detected by task and resting-state functional MRI
J Sports Sci. 2021 Feb 25:1-12. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2021.1891722. Online ahead of print.
The current study examined the effects of an 11-week exercise intervention on brain activity during a working memory (WM) task and resting-state functional network connectivity in deaf children. Twenty-six deaf children were randomly assigned to either an 11-week exercise intervention or control conditions. Before and after the exercise intervention, all participants were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during N-back task performance and a resting state. The behavioural results showed that the exercise intervention improved WM performance. Task activation analyses showed an increase in the parietal, occipital, and temporal gyri and hippocampus and hippocampus (HIP). In addition, WM performance improvements were associated with greater activation in the left HIP region. Resting-state functional connectivity (Rs-FC) between HIP and certain other brain areas shown a significant interaction of group (exercise versus no exercise) and time (pre- and postintervention). Moreover, connectivity between the left HIP and left middle frontal gyrus was related to improved WM performance. These data extend current knowledge by indicating that an exercise intervention can improve WM in deaf children, and these enhancements may be related to the WM network plasticity changes induced by exercise.
Cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation reconfigurates static and dynamic functional connectivity of the resting-state networks
Cerebellum Ataxias. 2021 Feb 24;8(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s40673-021-00132-6.
BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the cerebellum dynamically modulates cerebello-thalamo-cortical excitability in a polarity-specific manner during motor, visuo- motor and cognitive tasks. It remains to be established whether tDCS of the cerebellum impact also on resting-state intrinsically connected networks (ICNs). Such impact would open novel research and therapeutical doors for the neuromodulation of ICNs in human.
METHOD: We combined tDCS applied over the right cerebellum and fMRI to investigate tDCS- induced resting-state intrinsic functional reconfiguration, using a randomized, sham-controlled design. fMRI data were recorded both before and after real anodal stimulation (2 mA, 20 min) or sham tDCS in 12 right-handed healthy volunteers. We resorted to a region-of-interest static correlational analysis and to a sliding window analysis to assess temporal variations in resting state FC between the cerebellar lobule VII and nodes of the main ICNs.
RESULTS: After real tDCS and compared with sham tDCS, functional changes were observed between the cerebellum and ICNs. Static FC showed enhanced or decreased correlation between cerebellum and brain areas belonging to visual, default-mode (DMN), sensorimotor and salience networks (SN) (p-corrected < 0.05). The temporal variability (TV) of BOLD signal was significantly modified after tDCS displaying in particular a lesser TV between the whole lobule VII and DMN and central executive network and a greater TV between crus 2 and SN. Static and dynamic FC was also modified between cerebellar lobuli.
CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate short- and long-range static and majorly dynamic effects of tDCS stimulation of the cerebellum affecting distinct resting-state ICNs, as well as intracerebellar functional connectivity, so that tDCS of the cerebellum appears as a non-invasive tool reconfigurating the dynamics of ICNs.