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Altered functional connectivity density in patients with herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia

Authors Hong S, Gu L, Zhou F, Liu J, Huang M, Jiang J, He L, Gong H, Zeng X

Received 17 October 2017

Accepted for publication 11 March 2018

Published 27 April 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 881—888


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Shunda Hong,1,* Lili Gu,2,* Fuqing Zhou,1 Jiaqi Liu,1 Muhua Huang,1 Jian Jiang,1 Laichang He,1 Honghan Gong,1 Xianjun Zeng1

1Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pain, The First Affiliated Hospital, Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore intrinsic functional connectivity patterns in patients with herpes zoster (HZ) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).
Patients and methods: Thirty-three right-handed HZ patients (13 males; mean age 57.15±9.30 years), 22 right-handed PHN patients (9 males; mean age 66.13±6.77 years), and 28 well-matched healthy controls (HC) (9 males; mean age 54.21±7.72 years) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging for intrinsic functional connectivity analyses. Functional connectivity density (FCD) was calculated and compared among the PHN, HZ, and HC groups. In addition, the Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated to compare various clinical indices in the regions with abnormal FCD values.
Results: Compared with the HC, both HZ and PHN patients showed significantly decreased FCD in the precuneus, and patients with HZ displayed significantly increased FCD in the brainstem/limbic lobe/parahippocampalgyrus, whereas patients with PHN displayed significantly increased FCD in the hippocampus (correlation thresholds r=0.25, voxel level of P<0.01 and Gaussian random field theory at a cluster level of P<0.05). However, the FCD was not significantly different between the PHN and HZ patients. Furthermore, the decreased FCD in the precuneus was positively correlated with the visual analog scale score in the PHN group (r=0.672; P=0.001).
Conclusion: Decreased connectivity of the precuneus occurred in both HZ and PHN patients, indicating a disrupted default-mode network. Furthermore, in the HZ group (initial stage of the virus infection), hyperconnectivity was observed in systems involved in pain transmission and interpretation, but hyperconnectivity only occurred in the hippocampus in the PHN group (neuropathic pain stage).

Keywords: functional connectivity density, herpes zoster, postherpetic neuralgia, functional magnetic resonance imaging, resting state, pain

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