Detection of PCC functional connectivity characteristics in resting-state fMRI in mild Alzheimer's disease

Hong-Ying Zhang, Shi-Jie Wang, Jiong Xing, Bin Liu, Zhan-Long Ma, Ming Yang, Zhi-Jun Zhang, Gao-Jun Teng
Behavioural Brain Research 2009 January 30, 197 (1): 103-8
Resting-state networks dissociate in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) in AD brain is vulnerable to isolation from the rest of brain. However, it remains unclear how this functional connectivity is related to PCC changes. We employed resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) to examine brain regions with a functional connection to PCC in a mild AD group compared with matched control subjects. PCC connectivity was gathered by investigating synchronic low frequency fMRI signal fluctuations with a temporal correlation method. We found asymmetric PCC-left hippocampus, right dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex and right thalamus connectivity disruption. In addition, some other regions such as the bilateral visual cortex, the infero-temporal cortex, the posterior orbital frontal cortex, the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and the precuneus showed decreased functional connectivity to the PCC. There were also some regions, primarily in the left frontal-parietal cortices, that showed increased connectivity. These regions included the medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex, the left basal ganglia and the left primary motor cortex. Impairments to memory, high vision-related functions and olfaction in AD can be explained by a disruption to the functional connection of resting-state networks. The results of increased connectivity may support the compensatory-recruitment hypothesis. Our findings suggest that the characteristics of resting-state functional connectivity could plausibly provide an early imaging biomarker for AD.

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