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Regional impairment of intrinsic functional connectivity strength in patients with chronic primary insomnia

Authors Huang S, Zhou F, Jiang J, Huang M, Zeng X, Ding S, Gong H

Received 17 March 2017

Accepted for publication 18 April 2017

Published 6 June 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1449—1462


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Suhua Huang,1 Fuqing Zhou,2,3 Jian Jiang,2,3 Muhua Huang,2,3 Xianjun Zeng,2,3 Shan Ding,1 Honghan Gong2,3

1Department of Radiology, Jiangxi Province Children’s Hospital, 2Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Nanchang University, 3Jiangxi Province Medical Imaging Research Institute, Nanchang, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Several neuroimaging studies have suggested that brain impairment and plasticity occur in patients with chronic primary insomnia (CPI); however, the effects of insomnia on the intrinsic organization of the brain remain largely unknown. In this study, a voxel-based functional connectivity strength (FCS) assessment, a data-driven method based on a theoretical approach, was applied to investigate the effects of insomnia on the intrinsic organization of the whole brain in 27 treatment-naïve CPI patients and 26 well-matched healthy controls (HCs). Compared with HCs, CPI patients exhibited decreased FCS primarily in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the right medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), the left basal ganglia/insula, and the right cerebellum anterior lobe (CAL) due to decreased functional connectivity patterns. These results suggest that poor sleep quality could impair FCS within the brain, including the MPFC and the CAL, which are important for cognitive control and modulating motor and limbic functions. Additionally, a receiver operator characteristic analysis revealed that altered FCS has moderate sensitivity (76.9%–88.5%) and specificity (59.3%–70.4%) as a reference indicator to discriminate CPI patients from HCs. Taken together, these findings provide evidence for abnormal intrinsic brain activity in CPI patients and might improve our understanding of the pathophysiological processes that occur in insomnia patients.

Keywords: functional connectivity strength, disconnection, chronic primary insomnia, sleep disorders, resting-state fMRI

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