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Aberrant brain functional connectome in patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Authors Chen L, Fan X, Li H, Ye C, Yu H, Xin H, Gong H, Peng D, Yan L

Received 29 December 2017

Accepted for publication 23 February 2018

Published 18 April 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1059—1070

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S161085

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang


Li-Ting Chen,1,* Xiao-Le Fan,2,* Hai-Jun Li,1 Cheng-Long Ye,1 Hong-Hui Yu,1 Hui-Zhen Xin,1 Hong-Han Gong,1 De-Chang Peng,1 Li-Ping Yan3

1Department of Radiology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China; 2Department of General Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China; 3Department of Cardiology, People’s Hospital of Jiangxi Province, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is accompanied by widespread abnormal spontaneous regional activity related to cognitive deficits. However, little is known about the topological properties of the functional brain connectome of patients with OSA. This study aimed to use the graph theory approaches to investigate the topological properties and functional connectivity (FC) of the functional connectome in patients with OSA, based on resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI).
Methods: Forty-five male patients with newly diagnosed untreated severe OSA and 45 male good sleepers (GSs) underwent a polysomnography (PSG), clinical evaluations, and rs-fMRI scans. The automated anatomical labeling (AAL) atlas was used to construct the functional brain connectome. The topological organization and FC of brain functional networks in patients with OSA were characterized using graph theory methods and investigated the relationship between functional network topology and clinical variables.
Results: Both the patients with OSA and the GSs exhibited high-efficiency “small-world” network attributes. However, the patients with OSA exhibited decreased σ, γ, Eglob; increased Lp, λ; and abnormal nodal centralities in several default-mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), and central executive network (CEN) regions. However, the patients with OSA exhibited abnormal functional connections between the DMN, SN, and CEN. The disrupted FC was significantly positive correlations with the global network metrics γ and σ. The global network metrics were significantly correlated with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) score, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score, and oxygen desaturation index.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that the functional connectome of patients with OSA exhibited disrupted functional integration and segregation, and functional disconnections of the DMN, SN, and CEN. The aberrant topological attributes may be associated with disrupted FC and cognitive functions. These topological abnormalities and disconnections might be potential biomarkers of cognitive impairments in patients with OSA.

Keywords:
obstructive sleep apnea, graph theory, functional connectome, cognitive function, resting-state fMRI

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