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Abnormal intrinsic brain activities in stable patients with COPD: a resting-state functional MRI study

Authors Wang W, Li H, Peng D, Luo J, Xin H, Yu H, Yu J

Received 16 July 2018

Accepted for publication 16 September 2018

Published 17 October 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2763—2772


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning

Wenjing Wang,1,* Haijun Li,2,* Dechang Peng,2 Juan Luo,1 Huizhen Xin,2 Honghui Yu,2 Jingjing Yu1

1Department of Respiratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China; 2Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: The majority of previous neuroimaging studies have reported both structural and functional changes in COPD, whereas the intrinsic low-frequency oscillations changes and the relationship between the abnormal brain regions and the clinical performances remain unknown. The present study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the intrinsic brain activity in COPD patients using the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) method.
Methods: All participants, including 19 stable patients with COPD and 20 normal controls (NCs) matched in age, sex, and education, underwent resting-state functional MRI scans and performed cognitive function tests and respiratory functions tests. The local spontaneous brain activity was examined using the voxel-wise ALFF. Pearson’s correlation analysis was used to investigate the relationships between the brain regions with altered ALFF signal values and the clinical features in COPD patients.
Results: Compared with the NCs, COPD patients showed significantly lower cognitive function scores. Also, lower ALFF areas in the cluster of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and precuneus, as well as a higher ALFF area in the brainstem were also found in COPD patients. The mean ALFF values in the PCC, precuneus, and brainstem showed high sensitivity and specificity in operating characteristic curves analysis, which might have the ability to distinguish COPD from NCs. Meanwhile, the mean signal values of the lower ALFF cluster displayed significant positive correlations with FEV1/FVC proportion and significant negative correlation with PaCO2; the higher ALFF cluster showed significant positive correlation with FEV1 proportion in COPD.
Conclusion: According to the results of the present study, the COPD patients showed abnormal intrinsic brain activities in the precuneus, PCC, and brainstem, which might provide useful information to better understand the underlying pathophysiology of cognitive impairment.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation, functional magnetic resonance imaging, spontaneous brain activity, blood-oxygen-level dependent

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