Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is emerging as an interesting biomarker for measuring connectivity of the brain in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this review, we discuss the origins of resting-state fMRI, common methodologies used to extract information from these four-dimensional fMRI scans, and important considerations for the analysis of these scans. Then we present the current state of knowledge in this area by summarizing various AD resting-state fMRI studies presented in the first section and end with a discussion of future developments and open questions in the field.
Resting state networks (RSNs) are spontaneous, synchronous, low-frequency oscillations observed in the brains of subjects who are awake but at rest. A particular RSN called the default mode network (DMN) has been shown to exhibit changes associated with neurological disorders such as temporal lobe epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies have also found that differing experimental conditions such as eyes-open versus eyes-closed can produce measurable changes in the DMN. These condition-associated changes have the potential of confounding the measurements of changes in RSNs related to or caused by disease state(s). In this study, we use fMRI measurements of resting-state connectivity paired with EEG measurements of alpha rhythm and employ independent component analysis, undirected graphs of partial spectral coherence, and spatiotemporal regression to investigate the effect of music-listening on RSNs and the DMN in particular. We observed similar patterns of DMN connectivity in subjects who were listening to music compared with those who were not, with a trend towards a more introspective pattern of resting-state connectivity during music-listening. We conclude that music-listening is a valid condition under which the DMN can be studied.
fMRI; EEG; Default Mode Network; Functional Connectivity; Independent Component Analysis
Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) is a syndrome associated with faster memory decline than normal aging, and frequently represents the prodromal phase of Alzheimer’s disease. When a person is not actively engaged in a goal-directed task, spontaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals can reveal functionally connected brain networks, including the so-called default mode network (DMN). To date, only a few studies have investigated DMN functions in aMCI populations. In this study, group independent component analysis was conducted for resting-state fMRI data, with slices acquired perpendicular to the long axis of the hippocampus, from eight subjects with aMCI and eight normal control subjects. Subjects with aMCI showed increased DMN activity in middle cingulate cortex, medial prefrontal cortex, and left inferior parietal cortex compared to the normal control group. Decreased DMN activity for the aMCI group compared to the normal control group was noted in lateral prefrontal cortex, left medial temporal lobe (MTL), left medial temporal gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex/retrosplenial cortex/precuneus, and right angular gyrus. Although MTL volume difference between the two groups was not statistical significant, decreased activity in left MTL was observed for the aMCI group. Positive correlations between DMN activity and memory scores were noted for left lateral prefrontal cortex, left medial temporal gyrus, and right angular gyrus. These findings support the premise that alterations of the DMN occur in aMCI and may indicate deficiencies in functional, intrinsic brain architecture, that correlate with memory function, even before significant medial temporal lobe atrophy is detectable by structural MRI.
default mode network (DMN); amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI); resting-state fMRI; medial temporal lobe (MTL)
Local network connectivity disruptions in Alzheimer's disease patients have been found using graph analysis in BOLD fMRI. Other studies using MEG and cortical thickness measures, however, show more global long distance connectivity changes, both in functional and structural imaging data. The form and role of functional connectivity changes thus remains ambiguous. The current study shows more conclusive data on connectivity changes in early AD using graph analysis on resting-state condition fMRI data.
18 mild AD patients and 21 healthy age-matched control subjects without memory complaints were investigated in resting-state condition with MRI at 1.5 Tesla. Functional coupling between brain regions was calculated on the basis of pair-wise synchronizations between regional time-series. Local (cluster coefficient) and global (path length) network measures were quantitatively defined. Compared to controls, the characteristic path length of AD functional networks is closer to the theoretical values of random networks, while no significant differences were found in cluster coefficient. The whole-brain average synchronization does not differ between Alzheimer and healthy control groups. Post-hoc analysis of the regional synchronization reveals increased AD synchronization involving the frontal cortices and generalized decreases located at the parietal and occipital regions. This effectively translates in a global reduction of functional long-distance links between frontal and caudal brain regions.
We present evidence of AD-induced changes in global brain functional connectivity specifically affecting long-distance connectivity. This finding is highly relevant for it supports the anterior-posterior disconnection theory and its role in AD. Our results can be interpreted as reflecting the randomization of the brain functional networks in AD, further suggesting a loss of global information integration in disease.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of studies using resting state fMRI, a recent addition to imaging analysis techniques. The technique analyzes ongoing low frequency fluctuations in the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal. Through patterns of spatial coherence, these fluctuations can be used to identify the networks within the brain. Multiple brain networks are present simultaneously and the relationships within and between networks are in constant dynamic flux. Resting state fMRI functional connectivity (rs-fMRI) analysis is increasingly used to detect subtle brain network differences, and in the case of pathophysiology, subtle abnormalities in illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The sequence of events leading up to dementia has been hypothesized to begin many years or decades before any clinical symptoms occur. Here we review the findings across rs-fMRI studies in the spectrum of preclinical AD to clinical AD. In addition, we discuss evidence for underlying preclinical AD mechanisms, including an important relationship between resting state functional connectivity and brain metabolism, and how this results in a distinctive pattern of amyloid plaque deposition in default mode network regions.
fMRI; BOLD; amyloid; precuneus; default mode network (DMN); glycolysis
Previous studies have revealed that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in specific brain regions correlates with cross-sectional performance on standardized clinical trial measures in Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, the relationship between longitudinal change in fMRI-BOLD signal and neuropsychological performance remains unknown. Objective: To identify changes in regional fMRI-BOLD activity that tracks change in neuropsychological performance in mild AD dementia over 6 months.
Twenty-four subjects (mean age 71.6) with mild AD dementia (mean Mini Mental State Examination 21.7, Global Clinical Dementia Rating 1.0) on stable donepezil dosing participated in two task-related fMRI sessions consisting of a face-name paired associative encoding memory paradigm 24 weeks apart during a randomized placebo-controlled pharmaco-fMRI drug study. Regression analysis was used to identify regions where the change in fMRI activity for Novel > Repeated stimulus contrast was associated with the change scores on postscan memory tests and the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test (FCSRT).
Correlations between changes in postscan memory accuracy and changes in fMRI activity were observed in regions including the angular gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus and cerebellum. Correlations between changes in FCSRT-free recall and changes in fMRI were observed in regions including the inferior parietal lobule, precuneus, hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus.
Changes in encoding-related fMRI activity in regions implicated in mnemonic networks correlated with changes in psychometric measures of episodic memory retrieval performed outside the scanner. These exploratory results support the potential of fMRI activity to track cognitive change and detect signals of short-term pharmacologic effect in early-phase AD studies.
Functional MRI; Clinical trial; Episodic memory; Biomarker; Dementia
Previous studies have defined low-frequency, spatially consistent intrinsic connectivity networks (ICN) in resting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data which reflect functional interactions among distinct brain areas. We sought to explore whether and how repeated migraine attacks influence intrinsic brain connectivity, as well as how activity in these networks correlates with clinical indicators of migraine.
Resting-state fMRI data in twenty-three patients with migraines without aura (MwoA) and 23 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) were analyzed using independent component analysis (ICA), in combination with a “dual-regression” technique to identify the group differences of three important pain-related networks [default mode network (DMN), bilateral central executive network (CEN), salience network (SN)] between the MwoA patients and HC. Compared with the HC, MwoA patients showed aberrant intrinsic connectivity within the bilateral CEN and SN, and greater connectivity between both the DMN and right CEN (rCEN) and the insula cortex - a critical region involving in pain processing. Furthermore, greater connectivity between both the DMN and rCEN and the insula correlated with duration of migraine.
Our findings may provide new insights into the characterization of migraine as a condition affecting brain activity in intrinsic connectivity networks. Moreover, the abnormalities may be the consequence of a persistent central neural system dysfunction, reflecting cumulative brain insults due to frequent ongoing migraine attacks.
Recent functional MRI (fMRI) studies have demonstrated that there is an intrinsically organized default mode network (DMN) in the resting brain, primarily made up of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). Several previous studies have found that the DMN is minimally disturbed during different resting-state conditions with limited cognitive demand. However, this conclusion was drawn from the visual inspection of the functional connectivity patterns within the DMN and no statistical comparison was performed.
Four resting-state fMRI sessions were acquired: 1) eyes-closed (EC) (used to generate the DMN mask); 2) EC; 3) eyes-open with no fixation (EO); and 4) eyes-open with a fixation (EO-F). The 2–4 sessions were counterbalanced across participants (n = 20, 10 males). We examined the statistical differences in both functional connectivity and regional amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) within the DMN among the 2–4 resting-state conditions (i.e., EC, EO, and EO-F). Although the connectivity patterns of the DMN were visually similar across these three different conditions, we observed significantly higher functional connectivity and ALFF in both the EO and the EO-F conditions as compared to the EC condition. In addition, the first and second resting EC conditions showed significant differences within the DMN, suggesting an order effect on the DMN activity.
Our findings of the higher DMN connectivity and regional spontaneous activities in the resting state with the eyes open suggest that the participants might have more non-specific or non-goal-directed visual information gathering and evaluation, and mind wandering or daydreaming during the resting state with the eyes open as compared to that with the eyes closed, thus providing insights into the understanding of unconstrained mental activity within the DMN. Our results also suggest that it should be cautious when choosing the type of a resting condition and designating the order of the resting condition in multiple scanning sessions in experimental design.
Previous researches have explored the changes of functional connectivity caused by smoking with the aid of fMRI. This study considers not only functional connectivity but also effective connectivity regarding both brain networks and brain regions by using a novel analysis framework that combines independent component analysis (ICA) and Granger causality analysis (GCA). We conducted a resting-state fMRI experiment in which twenty-one heavy smokers were scanned in two sessions of different conditions: smoking abstinence followed by smoking satiety. In our framework, group ICA was firstly adopted to obtain the spatial patterns of the default-mode network (DMN), executive-control network (ECN), and salience network (SN). Their associated time courses were analyzed using GCA, showing that the effective connectivity from SN to DMN was reduced and that from ECN/DMN to SN was enhanced after smoking replenishment. A paired t-test on ICA spatial patterns revealed functional connectivity variation in regions such as the insula, parahippocampus, precuneus, anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area, and ventromedial/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These regions were later selected as the regions of interest (ROIs), and their effective connectivity was investigated subsequently using GCA. In smoking abstinence, the insula showed the increased effective connectivity with the other ROIs; while in smoking satiety, the parahippocampus had the enhanced inter-area effective connectivity. These results demonstrate our hypothesis that for deprived heavy smokers, smoking replenishment takes effect on both functional and effective connectivity. Moreover, our analysis framework could be applied in a range of neuroscience studies.
Participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to those without MCI, and functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging (fMRI) used with MCI participants may prove to be an important tool in identifying early biomarkers for AD. We tested the hypothesis that functional connectivity differences exist between older adults with and without MCI using resting-state fMRI. Data were collected on over 200 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a community-based, clinical-pathological cohort study of aging. From the cohort, 40 participants were identified as having MCI, and were compared to 40 demographically matched participants without cognitive impairment. MCI participants showed lesser functional connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and right and left orbital frontal, right middle frontal, left putamen, right caudate, left superior temporal, and right posterior cingulate regions; and greater connectivity with right inferior frontal, left fusiform, left rectal, and left precentral regions. Furthermore, in an alternate sample of 113, connectivity values in regions of difference correlated with episodic memory and processing speed. Results suggest functional connectivity values in regions of difference are associated with cognitive function and may reflect the presence of AD pathology and increased risk of developing clinical AD.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI); Resting-state fMRI; Functional connectivity; Posterior cingulate cortex; Memory; Basal ganglia; Striatum
Interregional correlations between blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals in the resting state have been interpreted as measures of connectivity across the brain. Here we investigate whether such connectivity in the working memory and default mode networks is modulated by changes in cognitive load. Functional connectivity was measured in a steady-state verbal identity N-back task for three different conditions (N = 1, 2, and 3) as well as in the resting state. We found that as cognitive load increases, the functional connectivity within both the working memory the default mode network increases. In order to test whether functional connectivity between the working memory and the default mode networks changed, we constructed maps of functional connectivity to the working memory network as a whole and found that increasingly negative correlations emerged in a dorsal region of the posterior cingulate cortex. These results provide further evidence that low frequency fluctuations in BOLD signals reflect variations in neural activity and suggests interaction between the default mode network and other cognitive networks.
fMRI; functional connectivity; working memory; default mode
Clinical diagnosis of disorders of consciousness (DOC) caused by brain injury poses great challenges since patients are often behaviorally unresponsive. A promising new approach towards objective DOC diagnosis may be offered by the analysis of ultra-slow (<0.1 Hz) spontaneous brain activity fluctuations measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the resting-state. Previous work has shown reduced functional connectivity within the “default network”, a subset of regions known to be deactivated during engaging tasks, which correlated with the degree of consciousness impairment. However, it remains unclear whether the breakdown of connectivity is restricted to the “default network”, and to what degree changes in functional connectivity can be observed at the single subject level. Here, we analyzed resting-state inter-hemispheric connectivity in three homotopic regions of interest, which could reliably be identified based on distinct anatomical landmarks, and were part of the “Extrinsic” (externally oriented, task positive) network (pre- and postcentral gyrus, and intraparietal sulcus). Resting-state fMRI data were acquired for a group of 11 healthy subjects and 8 DOC patients. At the group level, our results indicate decreased inter-hemispheric functional connectivity in subjects with impaired awareness as compared to subjects with intact awareness. Individual connectivity scores significantly correlated with the degree of consciousness. Furthermore, a single-case statistic indicated a significant deviation from the healthy sample in 5/8 patients. Importantly, of the three patients whose connectivity indices were comparable to the healthy sample, one was diagnosed as locked-in. Taken together, our results further highlight the clinical potential of resting-state connectivity analysis and might guide the way towards a connectivity measure complementing existing DOC diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia. Much is known concerning AD pathophysiology but our understanding of the disease at the systems level remains incomplete. Previous AD research has used resting state functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fcMRI) to assess the integrity of functional networks within the brain. Most studies have focused on the default-mode network (DMN), a primary locus of AD pathology. However, other brain regions are inevitably affected with disease progression. We studied rs-fcMRI in five functionally defined brain networks within a large cohort of human participants of either gender (n=510) that ranged in AD severity from unaffected (clinical dementia rating, CDR 0) to very mild (CDR 0.5) to mild AD (CDR 1). We observed loss of correlations within not only the DMN but other networks at CDR 0.5. Within the salience network (SAL), increases were seen between CDR 0 and CDR 0.5. However, at CDR 1, all networks, including SAL, exhibited reduced correlations. Specific networks were preferentially affected at certain CDR stages. In addition, cross-network relations were consistently lost with increasing AD severity. Our results demonstrate that AD is associated with widespread loss of both intra- and inter-network correlations. These results provide insight into AD pathophysiology and reinforce an integrative view of the brain’s functional organization.
Alzheimer’s disease; fMRI; resting state functional connectivity; BOLD; default mode network; salience network
Despite considerable advances toward understanding the molecular pathophysiology of the neurodegenerative dementias, the mechanisms linking molecular changes to neuropathology and the latter to clinical symptoms remain largely obscure. Connectivity is a distinctive feature of the brain and the integrity of functional network dynamics is critical for normal functioning. A better understanding of network disruption in the neurodegenerative dementias may help bridge the gap between molecular changes, pathology and symptoms. Recent findings on functional network disruption as assessed with “resting-state” or intrinsic connectivity fMRI and EEG/MEG have shown distinct patterns of network disruption across the major neurodegenerative diseases. These network abnormalities are relatively specific to the clinical syndromes, and in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia network disruption tracks the pattern of pathological changes. These findings may have a practical impact on diagnostic accuracy, allowing earlier detection of neurodegenerative diseases even at the pre-symptomatic stage, and tracking of disease progression.
A number of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies reported the existence of default mode network (DMN) and its disruption due to the presence of a disease such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this current investigation, firstly, we used the independent component analysis (ICA) technique to confirm the DMN difference between patients with AD and normal control (NC) reported in previous studies. Consistent with previous studies, the decreased resting-state functional connectivity of DMN in AD was identified in posterior cingulated cortex (PCC), medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), inferior parietal cortex (IPC), inferior temporal cortex (ITC) and hippocampus (HC). Moreover, we introduced Bayesian Network (BN) to study the effective connectivity of DMN and the difference between AD and NC. Compared the DMN effective connectivity in AD to the one in NC using a non-parametric random permutation test, we found that connections from left HC to left IPC, left ITC to right HC, right HC to left IPC, to MPFC and to PCC were all lost. In addition, in AD group, the connection directions between right HC and left HC, between left HC and left ITC, and between right IPC and right ITC were opposite to those in NC group. The connections of right HC to other regions, except left HC, within the BN were all statistically in-distinguishable from 0, suggesting an increased right hippocampal pathological and functional burden in AD. The altered effective connectivity in patients with AD may reveal more characteristics of the disease and may serve as a potential biomarker.
biomarker; effective connectivity; functional connectivity; resting state; fMRI
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with abnormal functioning of the default mode network (DMN). Functional connectivity (FC) changes to the DMN have been found in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), which is the prodromal stage of AD. However, whether or not aMCI also alters the effective connectivity (EC) of the DMN remains unknown. We employed a combined group independent component analysis (ICA) and Bayesian network (BN) learning approach to resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) data from 17 aMCI patients and 17 controls, in order to establish the EC pattern of DMN, and to evaluate changes occurring in aMCI. BN analysis demonstrated heterogeneous regional convergence degree across DMN regions, which were organized into two closely interacting subsystems. Compared to controls, the aMCI group showed altered directed connectivity weights between DMN regions in the fronto-parietal, temporo-frontal, and temporo-parietal pathways. The aMCI group also exhibited altered regional convergence degree in the right inferior parietal lobule. Moreover, we found EC changes in DMN regions in aMCI were correlated with regional FC levels, and the connectivity metrics were associated with patients' cognitive performance. This study provides novel sights into our understanding of the functional architecture of the DMN and adds to a growing body of work demonstrating the importance of the DMN as a mechanism of aMCI.
The cerebral resting state in schizophrenia is altered, as has been demonstrated separately by electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) resting state networks (RSNs). Previous simultaneous EEG/fMRI findings in healthy controls suggest that a consistent spatiotemporal coupling between neural oscillations (EEG frequency correlates) and RSN activity is necessary to organize cognitive processes optimally. We hypothesized that this coupling is disorganized in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, in particular regarding higher cognitive RSNs such as the default-mode (DMN) and left-working-memory network (LWMN).
Resting state was investigated in eleven patients with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (n = 11) and matched healthy controls (n = 11) using simultaneous EEG/fMRI. The temporal association of each RSN to topographic spectral changes in the EEG was assessed by creating Covariance Maps. Group differences within, and group similarities across frequencies were estimated for the Covariance Maps.
The coupling of EEG frequency bands to the DMN and the LWMN respectively, displayed significant similarities that were shifted towards lower EEG frequencies in patients compared to healthy controls.
By combining EEG and fMRI, each measuring different properties of the same pathophysiology, an aberrant relationship between EEG frequencies and altered RSNs was observed in patients. RSNs of patients were related to lower EEG frequencies, indicating functional alterations of the spatiotemporal coupling.
The finding of a deviant and shifted coupling between RSNs and related EEG frequencies in patients with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder is significant, as it might indicate how failures in the processing of internal and external stimuli, as commonly seen during this symptomatology (i.e. thought disorders, hallucinations), arise.
Objectives. Aging is the major risk factor for Alzheimer Disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The aim of this study was to identify novel modifications of brain functional connectivity in MCI patients. MCI individuals were compared to healthy elderly subjects.
Methods. We enrolled 37 subjects (age range 60–80 y.o.). Of these, 13 subjects were affected by MCI and 24 were age-matched healthy elderly control (HC). Subjects were evaluated with Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), and prose memory (Babcock story) tests. In addition, with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), we investigated resting state network (RSN) activities. Resting state (Rs) fMRI data were analyzed by means of Independent Component Analysis (ICA). Subjects were followed-up with neuropsychological evaluations for three years.
Results. Rs-fMRI of MCI subjects showed increased intrinsic connectivity in the Default Mode Network (DMN) and in the Somatomotor Network (SMN). Analysis of the DMN showed statistically significant increased activation in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and left inferior parietal lobule (lIPL). During the three years follow-up, 4 MCI subjects converted to AD. The subset of MCI AD-converted patients showed increased connectivity in the right Inferior Parietal Lobule (rIPL). As for SMN activity, MCI and MCI-AD converted groups showed increased level of connectivity in correspondence of the right Supramarginal Gyrus (rSG).
Conclusions. Our findings indicate alterations of DMN and SMN activity in MCI subjects, thereby providing potential imaging-based markers that can be helpful for the early diagnosis and monitoring of these patients.
rs-fMRI; MCI; Aging; AD; Alzheimer
Resting State fMRI (RS-fMRI) represents an emerging and powerful tool to explore brain functional connectivity (FC) changes associated with neurologic disorders. Compared to activation/task-related fMRI, RS-fMRI has the advantages that (i) BOLD fMRI signals are self-generated and independent of subject's performance during the task and (ii) a single dataset is sufficient to extract a set of RS networks (RSNs) that allows to explore whole brain FC. According to these features RS-fMRI appears particularly suitable for the study of FC changes related to multiple sclerosis (MS). In the present review we will first give a brief description of RS-fMRI methodology and then an overview of most relevant studies conducted so far in MS by using this approach. The most interesting results, in particular, regard the default-mode network (DMN), whose FC changes have been correlated with cognitive status of MS patients, and the visual RSN (V-RSN) whose FC changes have been correlated with visual recovery after optic neuritis. The executive control network (ECN), the lateralized frontoparietal network (FPN), and the sensory motor network (SMN) have also been investigated in MS, showing significant FC rearrangements. All together, RS-fMRI studies conducted so far in MS suggest that prominent RS-FC changes can be detected in many RSNs and correlate with clinical and/or structural MRI measures. Future RS-fMRI studies will further clarify the dynamics and clinical impact of RSNs changes in MS.
Important functional connections within the “default mode network” (DMN) are disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), likely from amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaque-associated neuronal toxicity. Here we sought to determine if pathological effects of Aβ amyloid plaques could be seen even in the absence of a task by examining functional connectivity in cognitively normal participants with and without preclinical amyloid deposition.
Participants with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (n= 35) were compared with 68 cognitively normal participants who were further subdivided by PET PIB imaging into those without evidence of brain amyloid (PIB−) and those with brain amyloid (PIB+) deposition.
Resting state fMRI demonstrated that, compared with the PIB− group, the PIB+ group differed significantly in functional connectivity of the precuneus to hippocampus, parahippocampus, anterior cingulate, dorsal cingulate, gyrus rectus, superior precuneus and visual cortex. These differences were in the same regions, and in the same direction, as differences found in the AD group.
Thus, prior to any manifestations of cognitive or behavioral changes there were differences in resting state connectivity in cognitively normal subjects with brain amyloid deposition, suggesting that early manifestation of Aβ toxicity can be detected using resting state fMRI.
PIB; fMRI; amyloid; Alzheimers Disease; resting state; precuneus; hippocampus
We hypothesize that the evolution of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may be related to differential effects of a concussive blow on the functional integrity of the brain default mode network (DMN) at rest and/or in response to physical stress. Accordingly, in this resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we examined 14 subjects 10±2 days post-sports-related mTBI and 15 age-matched normal volunteers (NVs) to investigate the possibility that the integrity of the DMN is disrupted at the resting state and/or following the physical stress test. First, all mTBI subjects were asymptomatic based upon clinical evaluation and neuropsychological (NP) assessments prior to the MRI session. Second, the functional integrity within the DMN, a main resting-state network, remained resilient to a single concussive blow. Specifically, the major regions of interest (ROIs) constituting the DMN (e.g., the posterior cingulate cortex [PCC]/precuneus area, the medial prefrontal cortex [MPFC], and left and right lateral parietal cortices [LLP and RLP]) and the connectivity within these four ROIs was similar between NVs and mTBI subjects prior to the YMCA physical stress test. However, the YMCA physical stress test disrupted the DMN, significantly reducing the magnitude of the connection between the PCC and left lateral parietal ROI, and PCC and right lateral parietal ROI, as well as between the PCC and MPFC in mTBI subjects. Thus while the DMN remained resilient to a single mTBI without exertion at 10 days post-injury, it was altered in response to limited physical stress. This may explain some clinical features of mTBI and provide some insight into its mechanism. This important finding should be considered by clinical practitioners when making decisions regarding return-to-play and clearing mTBI athletes for sports participation.
default mode network; resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging; subacute phase of mild traumatic brain injury
Positron emission tomography (PET) studies of major depression have revealed resting-state abnormalities in the prefrontal and cingulate cortices. Recently, fMRI has been adapted to examine connectivity within a specific resting-state neural network—the default-mode network—that includes the medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. The goal of this study was to examine resting-state, default-mode network functional connectivity in subjects with major depression and in healthy comparison subjects.
28 subjects with major depression and 20 healthy control subjects underwent 5-minute fMRI scans while resting quietly. Independent component analysis was used to isolate the default-mode network in each subject. Group maps of the default-mode network were generated and compared between the two groups. A within-group analysis was performed in the depressed group to explore effects of depression refractoriness on network functional connectivity.
Resting-state subgenual cingulate and thalamic functional connectivity with the default-mode network was significantly greater in the depressed subjects compared to the control group. Within the depressed group, the length of the current depressive episode (a surrogate for refractoriness) was positively correlated with functional connectivity in the subgenual cingulate.
This is the first study to explore default-mode functional connectivity in subjects with major depression. The findings provide cross-modality confirmation of PET studies demonstrating abnormally increased thalamic and subgenual cingulate activity in major depression. Further, the within-subject connectivity analysis employed here brings these previously isolated regions of hypermetabolism into the context of a disordered neural network. The correlation between refractoriness and subgenual cingulate functional connectivity within the network suggests that a quantitative, resting-state fMRI measure could be used to guide therapy on an individual subject basis.
functional connectivity; depression; subgenual cingulate; resting-state; independent component analysis
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) has demonstrated disrupted default mode network (DMN) connectivity in a number of pain conditions, including migraine. However, the significance of altered resting-state brain functional connectivity in migraine is still unknown. The present study is aimed to explore DMN functional connectivity in patients with migraine without aura (MwoA) and investigate its clinical significance.
To calculate and compare the resting-state functional connectivity of the DMN in 20 patients with MwoA, during the interictal period, and 20 gender- and age-matched HC, Brain Voyager QX was used. Voxel-based morphometry was used to assess whether between-group differences in DMN functional connectivity were related to structural differences. Secondary analyses explored associations between DMN functional connectivity, clinical and neuropsychological features of migraineurs.
In comparison to HC, patients with MwoA showed decreased connectivity in prefrontal and temporal regions of the DMN. Functional abnormalities were unrelated to detectable structural abnormalities or clinical and neuropsychological features of migraineurs.
Our study provides further evidence of disrupted DMN connectivity in patients with MwoA. We hypothesize that a DMN dysfunction may be related to behavioural processes such as a maladaptive response to stress which seems to characterize patients with migraine.
Resting-state fMRI; Default mode network; Migraine
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Connectivity mapping based on resting-state fMRI is rapidly developing and this methodology has great potential for clinical applications. However, before resting-state fMRI can be applied for diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring treatment for an individual patient with neurologic or psychiatric diseases, it is essential to assess its long-term reproducibility and between-subject variations among healthy individuals. The purpose of the study is to (1) quantify the long-term test-retest reproducibility of intrinsic connectivity network (ICN) measures derived from resting-state fMRI, and (2) assess the between-subject variation of ICN measures across the whole brain.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Longitudinal resting-state fMRI data of six healthy volunteers were acquired from nine scan sessions over a period of more than one year. The within-subject reproducibility and between-subject variation of ICN measures, across 1) the whole brain and 2) major nodes of the default mode network, were quantified with intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and coefficient of variance (COV).
Our data show that the long-term test-retest reproducibility of ICN measures is outstanding, with over 70% of the connectivity networks showing an ICC greater than 0.60. COV across six healthy volunteers in this sample was greater than 0.2, suggesting significant between-subject variation.
Our data indicate that resting-state ICN measures (e.g., the correlation coefficients between fMRI signal profiles from two different brain regions) are potentially suitable as biomarkers for monitoring disease progression and treatment effects in clinical trials and individual patients. Because between-subject variation is significant, it may be difficult to use quantitative ICN measures, in their current state, as a diagnostic tool.
We aim to clarify the mechanisms of acupuncture in treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD) by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirty-six right-handed subjects (8 MCI patients, 14 AD patients, and 14 healthy elders) participated in this study. Clinical and neuropsychological examinations were performed on all the subjects. MRI data acquisition was performed on a SIEMENS verio 3-Tesla scanner. The fMRI study used a single block experimental design. We first acquired the baseline resting state data in the initial 3 minutes; we then acquired the fMRI data during the procession of acupuncture stimulation on the acupoints of Tai chong and Hegu for the following 3 minutes. Last, we acquired fMRI data for another 10 minutes after the needle was withdrawn. The preprocessing and data analysis were performed using the statistical parametric mapping (SPM8) software. Then the two-sample t-tests were performed between each two groups of different states. We found that during the resting state, brain activities in AD and MCI patients were different from those of control subjects. During the acupuncture and the second resting state after acupuncture, when comparing to resting state, there are several regions showing increased or decreased activities in MCI, AD subjects compared to normal subjects. Most of the regions were involved in the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe, which were closely related to the memory and cognition. In conclusion, we investigated the effect of acupuncture in AD and MCI patients by combing fMRI and traditional acupuncture. Our fMRI study confirmed that acupuncture at Tai chong (Liv3) and He gu (LI4) can activate certain cognitive-related regions in AD and MCI patients.