Image_5_The Altered Reconfiguration Pattern of Brain Modular Architecture Regulates Cognitive Function in Cerebral Small Vessel Disease.TIF
Background: Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) is a common cause of cognitive dysfunction. However, little is known whether the altered reconfiguration pattern of brain modular architecture regulates cognitive dysfunction in SVD.
Methods: We recruited 25 cases of SVD without cognitive impairment (SVD-NCI) and 24 cases of SVD with mild cognitive impairment (SVD-MCI). According to the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, healthy controls (HC) were divided into 17 subjects (HC-low risk) and 19 subjects (HC-high risk). All individuals underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive assessments. Graph-theoretical analysis was used to explore alterations in the modular organization of functional brain networks. Multiple regression and mediation analyses were performed to investigate the relationship between MRI markers, network metrics and cognitive performance.
Results: We identified four modules corresponding to the default mode network (DMN), executive control network (ECN), sensorimotor network and visual network. With increasing vascular risk factors, the inter- and intranetwork compensation of the ECN and a relatively reserved DMN itself were observed in individuals at high risk for SVD. With declining cognitive ability, SVD-MCI showed a disrupted ECN intranetwork and increased DMN connection. Furthermore, the intermodule connectivity of the right inferior frontal gyrus of the ECN mediated the relationship between periventricular white matter hyperintensities and visuospatial processing in SVD-MCI.
Conclusions: The reconfiguration pattern of the modular architecture within/between the DMN and ECN advances our understanding of the neural underpinning in response to vascular risk and SVD burden. These observations may provide novel insight into the underlying neural mechanism of SVD-related cognitive impairment and may serve as a potential non-invasive biomarker to predict and monitor disease progression.
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