Back to Journals » Journal of Pain Research » Volume 14

Abnormal Brain Connectivity in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Assessed by Graph Theory

Authors Xing XX, Hua XY, Zheng MX, Wu JJ, Huo BB, Ma J, Ma ZZ, Li SS, Xu JG

Received 4 November 2020

Accepted for publication 25 January 2021

Published 11 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 693—701


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert B. Raffa

Xiang-Xin Xing,1,2,* Xu-Yun Hua,3,4,* Mou-Xiong Zheng,3,* Jia-Jia Wu,2 Bei-Bei Huo,1,2 Jie Ma,1,2 Zhen-Zhen Ma,1,2 Si-Si Li,1,2 Jian-Guang Xu1

1School of Rehabilitation Science, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yueyang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Traumatology and Orthopedics, Yueyang Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 4Yangzhi Rehabilitation Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Jian-Guang Xu
School of Rehabilitation Science, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 1200 Cailun Road, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86-21-51322091
Fax +86-21-51322042
Email [email protected]

Introduction: Numerous resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) researches have indicated that large-scale functional and structural remodeling occurs in the whole brain despite an intact sensorimotor network after carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Investigators aimed to explore alterations of the global and nodal properties that occur in the whole brain network of patients with CTS based on topographic theory.
Methods: Standard-compliant fMRI data were collected from 27 patients with CTS in bilateral hands and 19 healthy control subjects in this cross-sectional study. The statistics based on brain networks were calculated the differences between the patients and the healthy. Several topological properties were computed, such as the small-worldness, nodal clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, and degree centrality.
Results: Compared to those of the healthy controls, the global properties of the CTS group exhibited a decreased characteristic path length. Changes in the local-level properties included a decreased nodal clustering coefficient in 6 separate brain regions and significantly different degree centrality in several brain regions that were related to sensorimotor function and pain.
Discussion: The study suggested that CTS reinforces global connections and makes their networks more random. The changed nodal properties were affiliated with basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical circuits and the pain matrix. These results provided new insights for improving our understanding of abnormal topological theory in relation to the functional brain networks of CTS patients.
Perspective: This article presents that the CTS patients’ brain with a higher global efficiency. And the significant alterations in several brain regions which are more related to pain and motor processes. The results provided effective complements to the neural mechanisms underlying CTS.

Keywords: small-worldness, nodal clustering coefficient, degree centrality, pain, circuits

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]