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Aberrant Thalamic-Centered Functional Connectivity in Patients with Persistent Somatoform Pain Disorder

Authors Sun X, Pan X, Ni K, Ji C, Wu J, Yan C, Luo Y

Received 18 September 2019

Accepted for publication 11 January 2020

Published 23 January 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 273—281

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S231555

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jun Chen


Xia Sun,1,* Xiandi Pan,2,* Kaiji Ni,1 Chenfeng Ji,1 Jiaxin Wu,3 Chao Yan,4 Yanli Luo1

1Department of Psychological Medicine, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Shanghai Pudong New Area Mental Health Center, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Psychiatry, Tongji Hospital of Tongji University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 4Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE&STCSM), Shanghai Changning-ECNU Mental Health Center, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Yanli Luo
Department of Psychological Medicine, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Pujian Road 160, Shanghai 200127, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-21-68382998
Email luoluoyanli@163.com

Chao Yan
Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE&STCSM), Shanghai Changning-ECNU Mental Health Center, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, North Zhongshan Road 3663, Shanghai 200062, People’s Republic of China
Tel +862162232963
Email cyan@psy.ecnu.edu.cn

Purpose: Recent task-based fMRI studies have shown that Persistent Somatoform Pain Disorder (PSPD) patients demonstrated aberrant activity in a wide range of brain regions associated with sensation, cognition and emotion. However, these specific task-based studies could not clearly uncover the alterations in the spontaneous brain networks that were associated with the general pain-related symptoms in PSPD.
Patients and Methods: In the present study, 13 PSPD patients and 23 matched healthy controls (HCs) were enrolled. Resting state and 3D structural imaging data were collected during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Ninety regions of interest (ROIs) were selected from the automated anatomical labeling (AAL) template. The functional connectivity toolbox “CONN” was used to calculate the functional connectivity (FC) coefficients.
Results: Our results showed that PSPD patients exhibited increased FCs between the left thalamus and the right amygdala, the right hippocampus, and multiple sub-regions of the occipital lobe when compared to HCs. Correlation analysis revealed a negative correlation between the left thalamus-right amygdala FC and the level of anxiety in PSPD patients.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the altered FC between thalamus and amygdala may be the neural mechanisms underlying the pain-related anxiety in PSPD.

Keywords: persistent somatoform pain disorder, functional magnetic resonance imaging, resting-state, functional connectivity
 

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