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Connectomics in psychiatric research: advances and applications

Authors Cao M, Wang Z, He Y

Received 23 April 2015

Accepted for publication 20 August 2015

Published 29 October 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2801—2810

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S63470

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Miao Cao,* Zhijiang Wang,* Yong He

State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning and IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work


Abstract: Psychiatric disorders disturb higher cognitive functions and severely compromise human health. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders are very complex, and understanding these mechanisms remains a great challenge. Currently, many psychiatric disorders are hypothesized to reflect “faulty wiring” or aberrant connectivity in the brains. Imaging connectomics is arising as a promising methodological framework for describing the structural and functional connectivity patterns of the human brain. Recently, alterations of brain networks in the connectome have been reported in various psychiatric disorders, and these alterations may provide biomarkers for disease diagnosis and prognosis for the evaluation of treatment efficacy. Here, we summarize the current achievements in both the structural and functional connectomes in several major psychiatric disorders (eg, schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism) based on multi-modal neuroimaging data. We highlight the current progress in the identification of these alterations and the hypotheses concerning the aberrant brain networks in individuals with psychiatric disorders and discuss the research questions that might contribute to a further mechanistic understanding of these disorders from a connectomic perspective.

Keywords: psychiatric disorders, connectome, graph theory, functional connectivity, structural connectivity

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