Abnormal baseline brain activity in patients with HBV-related cirrhosis without overt hepatic encephalopathy revealed by resting-state functional MRI

Xiao-Fei Lv, Min Ye, Lu-Jun Han, Xue-Lin Zhang, Pei-Qiang Cai, Gui-Hua Jiang, Ying-Wei Qiu, Shi-Jun Qiu, Yao-Pan Wu, Kai Liu, Zhen-Yin Liu, Pei-Hong Wu, Chuan-Miao Xie
Metabolic Brain Disease 2013, 28 (3): 485-92
Neurocognitive dysfunction of varying degrees is common in patients with hepatitis B virus-related cirrhosis (HBV-RC) without overt hepatic encephalopathy (OHE). However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying these dysfunctions are not well understood. We sought to identify changes in the neural activity of patients with HBV-RC without OHE in the resting state by using the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) method and to determine whether these changes were related to impaired cognition. Resting-state functional MRI data from 30 patients with HBV-RC and 30 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and years of education were compared to determine any differences in the ALFF between the two groups. Cognition was measured with the psychometric hepatic encephalopathy score (PHES), and the relationship between these scores and ALFF variation was assessed. Compared with controls, patients showed widespread lower standardized ALFF (mALFF) values in visual association areas (bilateral lingual gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, and left inferior temporal gyrus), motor-related areas (bilateral precentral gyrus, paracentral lobule, and right postcentral gyrus), and the default mode network (bilateral cuneus/precuneus and inferior parietal lobule). Higher mALFF values were found in the bilateral orbital gyrus/rectal gyrus. In patients, mALFF values were significantly positive correlated with the PHES in the right middle occipital gyrus and bilateral precentral gyrus. Our findings of resting-state abnormalities in patients with HBV-RC without OHE suggest that neurocognitive dysfunction in patients with HBV-RC without OHE may be caused by abnormal neural activity in multiple brain regions.

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