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Resting-State Functional MRI Study: Connection Strength of Brain Networks in DR Patients

Authors Li L, Dai H, Ke J, Shi C, Jiang N, Yang CM

Received 16 August 2019

Accepted for publication 18 November 2019

Published 5 December 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 3359—3366

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S227468

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Yuping Ning


Lan Li,1 Hui Dai,2 Jun Ke,2 Cen Shi,2 Nan Jiang,2 Chun-Mei Yang3

1Department of Endocrinology, First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, Kunming, Yunnan 215006, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Endocrinology, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Hui Dai
Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, People’s Republic of China
Tel/Fax +86512-67780633
Email huizi198208@126.com
Chun-Mei Yang
Department of Endocrinology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, Jiangsu 215006, People’s Republic of China
Tel/Fax +86512-67780633
Email muyi1979yang@163.com

Purpose: To explore the functional connection strength (FCS) changes of brain networks in diabetic retinopathy (DR) patients and uncover the underlying mechanism.
Methods and Materials: Twenty-one patients with DR and 21 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled from August 2012 to September 2014. Subjects were scanned using 3T MR with blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) and 3-dimension fast spoiled gradient echo (3D-FSPGR) sequences. MR data was analyzed via preprocessing and functional network construction. After a group comparison, components of brain networks with significant group differences were extracted and the FCS of the brain network was evaluated. The brain areas were compared between patients and controls. P-values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Connection strength was evaluated with alphasim, P<0.01.
Results: The component maps of altered brain networks with quantified FCS were obtained in DR patients, demonstrating more disconnections mainly in the bilateral Heschl’s gyrus, left cuneus, left occipital lobe, bilateral amygdala, left parahippocampal, bilateral fusiform, and left superior parietal in the patients group compared to the healthy controls (P<0.01), while compensations may occur in the frontal-cingulum region, as well as among the right caudate, left thalamus, left inferior temporal lobe, and middle orbital frontal lobe.
Conclusion: Brain network connections, decreased in the brain areas of which in charging with cognition and visual function, suggests that DR patients might have cognitive decline and visual function loss. However, there might be a frontal compensatory circle in patients with DR.

Keywords: resting-state functional MRI, brain networks, functional connection strength, diabetic retinopathy

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