Abnormal functional connectivity in patients with vascular cognitive impairment, no dementia: a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Ya-wen Sun, Lin-di Qin, Yan Zhou, Qun Xu, Li-jun Qian, Jing Tao, Jian-rong Xu
Behavioural Brain Research 2011 October 1, 223 (2): 388-94
The functional connectivity (FC) method was used to investigate the changes in the resting state of patients with vascular cognitive impairment, no dementia (VCIND). Resting-state functional magnetic resonance images (fMRIs) were acquired from 16 patients with subcortical ischemic vascular disease (SIVD) who fulfilled the criteria for VCIND, as well as 18 age- and sex-matched subjects with SIVD with no cognitive impairment (control group). Posterior cingulate cortex connectivity was gathered by investigating synchronic low-frequency fMRI signal fluctuations with a temporal correlation method. Compared with the control group, the patients showed FC decrease in the left middle temporal gyrus, the left anterior cingulate/left middle frontal gyrus, the right caudate, the right middle frontal gyrus, and the left medial frontal gyrus/paracentral lobule. There were also some regions that showed increased connectivity. These regions included the right inferior temporal gyrus, the left middle temporal gyrus, the left precentral gyrus, and the left superior parietal lobule. Our findings revealed the change in resting-state patterns of neuronal activity in patients with VCIND. This change may be caused by subcortical white matter lesions that destroyed direct and indirect fiber tract connectivity across the cerebral white matter and influenced the cortical FC and hypoperfusion resulted from small vascular disease. The results of the increased connectivity may be evoked by the compensatory recruitment and plasticity mechanism. Our findings suggest that the simplicity and noninvasiveness of this method makes it a potential tool to help thoroughly understand the pathogenesis of VCIND.

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