Ann Rehabil Med.  2015 Jun;39(3):374-383. 10.5535/arm.2015.39.3.374.

Change of Brain Functional Connectivity in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury: Graph Theory Based Approach

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea. teeed0522@hanmail.net
  • 2Department of Molecular Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 3Department of Medical & Biological Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
  • 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
To investigate the global functional reorganization of the brain following spinal cord injury with graph theory based approach by creating whole brain functional connectivity networks from resting state-functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), characterizing the reorganization of these networks using graph theoretical metrics and to compare these metrics between patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and age-matched controls.
METHODS
Twenty patients with incomplete cervical SCI (14 males, 6 females; age, 55+/-14.1 years) and 20 healthy subjects (10 males, 10 females; age, 52.9+/-13.6 years) participated in this study. To analyze the characteristics of the whole brain network constructed with functional connectivity using rs-fMRI, graph theoretical measures were calculated including clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, global efficiency and small-worldness.
RESULTS
Clustering coefficient, global efficiency and small-worldness did not show any difference between controls and SCIs in all density ranges. The normalized characteristic path length to random network was higher in SCI patients than in controls and reached statistical significance at 12%-13% of density (p<0.05, uncorrected).
CONCLUSION
The graph theoretical approach in brain functional connectivity might be helpful to reveal the information processing after SCI. These findings imply that patients with SCI can build on preserved competent brain control. Further analyses, such as topological rearrangement and hub region identification, will be needed for better understanding of neuroplasticity in patients with SCI.

Keyword

Spinal cord injuries; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuronal plasticity

MeSH Terms

Automatic Data Processing
Brain*
Female
Humans
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Male
Neuronal Plasticity
Spinal Cord Injuries*
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