Table_1_Impaired Structural Network Properties Caused by White Matter Hyperintensity Related to Cognitive Decline.xlsx
Purpose: There is a high correlation between white matter hyperintensity (WMH) and cognitive impairment (CI) in elderly people. However, not all WMH will develop into CI, and the potential mechanism of WMH-related CI is still unclear. This study aimed to investigate the topological properties of white matter structural network in WMH-related CI.
Methods: Forty-one WMH subjects with CI (WMH-CI), 42 WMH subjects without CI (WMH-no-CI), and 52 elderly healthy controls (HC) were recruited. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) fiber tractography and graph theoretical analysis were applied to construct the structural network. We compared network properties and clinical features among the three groups. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationships among WMH volumes, impaired network properties, and cognitive functions in the WMH-CI group.
Results: Compared with the controls, both WMH groups showed decreased network strength, global efficiency, and increased characteristic path length (Lp) at the level of the whole brain. The WMH-CI group displayed more profound impairments of nodal efficiency and nodal path length (NLp) within multiple regions including precentral, cingulate, and medial temporal gyrus. The disrupted network properties were associated with CI and WMH burdens in the WMH-CI group. Furthermore, a mediation effect of NLp in the left inferior frontal gyrus was observed for the association between periventricular WMH (PWMH) and memory deficit.
Conclusions: Brain structural network in WMH-CI is significantly disturbed, and this disturbance is related to the severity of WMH and CI. Increased NLp in the left opercular part of inferior frontal gyrus (IFGoperc.L) was shown to be a mediation framework between PWMH and WMH-related memory, which shed light on investigating the underlying mechanisms of CI caused by WMH.