Abnormal amplitude of low frequency fluctuation and functional connectivity in non-neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus: a resting-state fMRI study

  • Hong Yu
  • Xiang Qiu
  • Yu-qing Zhang
  • Yan Deng
  • Mao-yuan He
  • Yu-ting Zhao
  • Zhao-hua ZhaiEmail author
Functional Neuroradiology



To explore the amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and functional connectivity (FC) disorders in non-neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus (non-NPSLE) patients by resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and to study whether there are some clinical biomarkers that can be used to monitor the brain dysfunction.


Based on the rs-fMRI data of 36 non-NPSLE patients and 30 normal controls, we first obtained the regions with abnormal ALFF signals in non-NPSLE patients. Then, by taking these areas as seed regions of interest (ROIs), we calculated the FC between ROIs and the whole brain to assess the network-level alterations. Finally, we correlated the altered values of ALFF and FC in non-NPSLE patients to some clinical data.


Compared with the controls, non-NPSLE patients showed decreased ALFF in bilateral precuneus and increased ALFF in right cuneus and right calcarine fissure surrounding cortex (CAL). At network level, non-NPSLE patients exhibited higher FC between left precuneus and left middle occipital gyrus (MOG)/left superior occipital gyrus (SOG)/right middle frontal gyrus (MFG)/right dorsolateral superior frontal gyrus (SFGdor), and higher FC between right cuneus and bilateral precuneus/left posterior cingulate gyrus (PCG). The abnormal ALFF in right CAL and abnormal FC in right cuneus–left precuneus, right cuneus–right precuneus, and right cuneus–left PCG were correlated with the patients’ certain clinical data (p < 0.05).


Rs-fMRI is a promising tool for detecting the brain function disorders in non-NPSLE patients and to help understand the neurophysiological mechanisms. C4 and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index may be biomarkers of brain dysfunction in non-NPSLE patients.


Systemic lupus erythematosus Non-neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus Resting-state functional magnetic resonance Amplitude of low frequency fluctuation Functional connectivity 



We thank Tian-wu Chen, MD, for editing guidance. We are indebted to Dr. Li Chen for technical guidance on MRI scanning.

Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the 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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong Yu
    • 1
  • Xiang Qiu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yu-qing Zhang
    • 1
  • Yan Deng
    • 1
  • Mao-yuan He
    • 1
  • Yu-ting Zhao
    • 1
  • Zhao-hua Zhai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyAffiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical CollegeNanchongChina
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyChengdu First People’s HospitalChengduChina
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyThe Fourth People’s Hospital of ChengduChengduChina

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