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Effects of thalamic infarction on the structural and functional connectivity of the ipsilesional primary somatosensory cortex

  • Li Chen
  • Tianyou LuoEmail author
  • Kangcheng Wang
  • Yong Zhang
  • Dandan Shi
  • Fajin Lv
  • Yang Li
  • Yongmei Li
  • Qi Li
  • Weidong Fang
  • Zhiwei Zhang
  • Juan Peng
  • Hanfeng Yang
Head and Neck

Abstract

Objectives

To identify regions causally influenced by thalamic stroke by measuring white matter integrity, cortical volume, and functional connectivity (FC) among patients with thalamic infarction (TI) and to determine the association between structural/functional alteration and somatosensory dysfunction.

Methods

Thirty-one cases with TI-induced somatosensory dysfunction and 32 healthy controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging scanning. We reconstructed the ipsilesional central thalamic radiation (CTR) and assessed its integrity using fractional anisotropy (FA), assessed S1 ipsilesional changes with cortical volume, and identified brain regions functionally connected to TI locations and regions without TI to examine the potential effects on somatosensory symptoms.

Results

Compared with controls, TI patients showed decreased FA (F = 17.626, p < 0.001) in the ipsilesional CTR. TI patients exhibited significantly decreased cortical volume in the ipsilesional top S1. Both affected CTR (r = 0.460, p = 0.012) and S1 volume (r = 0.375, p = 0.049) were positively correlated with somatosensory impairment in TI patients. In controls, the TI region was highly functionally connected to atrophic top S1 and less connected to the adjacent middle S1 region in FC mapping. However, T1 patients demonstrated significantly increased FC between the ipsilesional thalamus and middle S1 area, which was adjacent to the atrophic S1 region.

Conclusions

TI induces remote changes in the S1, and this network of abnormality underlies the cause of the sensory deficits. However, our other finding that there is stronger connectivity in pathways adjacent to the damaged ones is likely responsible for at least some of the recovery of function.

Key Points

• TI led to secondary impairment in the CTR and cortical atrophy in the ipsilesional top of S1.

• TI patients exhibited significantly higher functional connectivity with the ipsilateral middle S1 which was mainly located within the non-atrophic area of S1.

• Our results provide neuroimaging markers for non-invasive treatment and predict somatosensory recovery.

Keywords

Thalamus Stroke Magnetic resonance imaging 

Abbreviations

CTR

Central thalamic radiation

DTI

Diffusion tensor imaging

FA

Fractional anisotropy

FC

Functional connectivity

FLA

Fugl-Meyer and Lindmark Assessment

FMA

Fugl-Meyer Assessment

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

FWE

Familywise error

ICV

Intracranial volume

MNI

Montreal Neurological Institute

S1

Primary somatosensory cortex

SM1

Primary sensorimotor cortex

TI

Thalamic infarction

WD

Wallerian degeneration

WMHs

White matter hyperintensities

Notes

Funding

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81671666), the Doctoral Scientific Funds of North Sichuan Medical College (CBY16-QD04), Key Project Sichuan Provincial Department of Education (18ZA0211), Postgraduate Science Innovation Foundation of Chongqing (CYB16061), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (SWU1709569), and Chongqing Scientific and Technological Talents Program (kjxx2017011).

Compliance with ethical standards

Guarantor

The scientific guarantor of this publication is Tianyou Luo.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects in this study.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.

Methodology

• Prospective

• Case-control study

• Performed at one institution

Supplementary material

330_2019_6068_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 4588 kb)

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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tianyou Luo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Kangcheng Wang
    • 3
  • Yong Zhang
    • 4
  • Dandan Shi
    • 2
  • Fajin Lv
    • 2
  • Yang Li
    • 1
  • Yongmei Li
    • 2
  • Qi Li
    • 2
  • Weidong Fang
    • 2
  • Zhiwei Zhang
    • 2
  • Juan Peng
    • 2
  • Hanfeng Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyAffiliated Hospital of North Sichuan Medical CollegeNanchongChina
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  4. 4.School of Foreign LanguagesSouthwest University of Political Science and LawChongqingChina

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