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Disrupted dynamic brain functional connectivity in male cocaine use disorder: Hyperconnectivity, strongly-connected state tendency, and links to impulsivity and borderline traits.

Cocaine use is a major public health problem with serious negative consequences at both the individual and societal levels. Cocaine use disorder (CUD) is associated with cognitive and emotional impairments, often manifesting as alterations in brain functional connectivity (FC). This study employed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) to examine dynamic FC in 38 male participants with CUD and 31 matched healthy controls. Using group spatial independent component analysis (group ICA) combined with sliding window approach, we identified two recurring distinct connectivity states: the strongly-connected state (state 1) and weakly-connected state (state 2). CUD patients exhibited significant increased mean dwell and fraction time in state 1, and increased transitions from state 2 to state 1, demonstrated significant strongly-connected state tendency. Our analysis revealed abnormal FC patterns that are state-dependent and state-shared in CUD patients. This study observed hyperconnectivity within the default mode network (DMN) and between DMN and other networks, which varied depending on the state. Furthermore, after adjustment for multiple comparisons, we found significant correlations between these altered dynamic FCs and clinical measures of impulsivity and borderline personality disorder. The disrupted FC and repetitive effects of precuneus and angular gyrus across correlations suggested that they might be the important hub of neural circuits related behaviorally and mentally in CUD. In summary, our study highlighted the potential of these disrupted FC as neuroimaging biomarkers and therapeutic targets, and provided new insights into the understanding of the neurophysiologic mechanisms of CUD.

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