Brain functional networks: correlation analysis with clinical indexes in patients with diabetic retinopathy
The relationship between parameters of brain functional networks and clinical indexes is unclear so far in patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR). This paper is to investigate this.
Twenty-one patients with different grades of DR and 21 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled from August 2012 to September 2014. The clinical indexes recorded included DR grade, duration of diabetes, HbA1c, diabetic foot screen, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, Homa-β, Homa-IR, insulin sensitive index (ISI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and patient sex and age. Subjects were scanned using 3-T MR with blood-oxygen-level-dependent and 3D–FSPGR sequences. MR data was analyzed via preprocessing and functional network construction, and quantified indexes of network (clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, global efficiency, degree distribution, and small worldness) were evaluated. Statistics consisted of ANOVA and correlation.
There were significant differences between patients and controls among clustering coefficient, characteristic path length, degree distribution, and small worldness parameters (P < 0.05). MMSE scores negatively correlated with characteristic path length, and Hb1Ac negatively correlated with small worldness. MMSE, duration of diabetes, diabetic foot screen, fasting plasma glucose, insulin, Homa-β, Homa-IR, ISI, DR grade, and patient age, except from Hb1Ac, correlated with degree distribution in certain brain areas.
Brain functional networks are altered, specifically in the areas of visual function and cognition, and these alterations may reflect the severity of visual weakness and cognitive decline in DR patients. Moreover, the brain networks may be affected both by long-standing and instant clinical factors.
KeywordsFunctional MRI Brain functional networks Diabetic retinopathy
Compliance with ethical standards
This work was primarily funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 81201079), partially funded by Medical Research Projects of the Department of Health, Jiangsu Province (Grant Q201303) and partially funded by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education (Grant JS-2014-197).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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