Brain Topography

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 636–645 | Cite as

Altered Functional Connectivity Patterns of the Insular Subregions in Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures

  • Rong Li
  • Kai Liu
  • Xujing Ma
  • Zhiqiang Li
  • Xujun Duan
  • Dongmei An
  • Qiyong Gong
  • Dong Zhou
  • Huafu ChenEmail author
Original Paper


Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) are characterized by unstable cognitive-emotional and motor system, which is engaged in hyperactivity of limbic regions and sensorimotor area. The insula, which is a part of the limbic system, includes various subregions with some distinct connectivity patterns separately. However, whether these insular subregions show different connectivity patterns respectively in PNES remains largely unknown. We aimed to investigate the functional connectivity (FC) of insular subregions in PNES and extend the understanding of the complex pathophysiological mechanisms of this disease. A resting-state FC based on the insular subregions were conducted in 18 patients and 20 healthy controls. We examined the differences in FC values between PNES patients and controls using two sample t test. Our results showed patients had significantly stronger FC between insular subregions and sensorimotor network, lingual gyrus, superior parietal gyrus and putamen, which suggested a hyperlink pattern of insular subregions involved in abnormal emotion regulation, cognitive processes and motor function in PNES. Pearson correlation analysis between the mean FC values within abnormal regions and the frequency of PNES further indicated PNES exhibited abnormal functional organization whose stressful emotion of patients have great direct influence on their motor functions. The differentially impaired functional connectivity patterns of insular subregions might provide new insights into the complex neurological mechanism of PNES.


PNES fMRI Functional connectivity Insular subregions Frequency 



This work was supported by 973 Project 2012CB517901, and by the Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant Nos. 61035006, 61125304, and by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China 20120185110028. The authors have no financial relationships to disclose.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 1114 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 1054 kb)
10548_2014_413_MOESM3_ESM.doc (187 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 187 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rong Li
    • 1
  • Kai Liu
    • 1
  • Xujing Ma
    • 1
  • Zhiqiang Li
    • 1
  • Xujun Duan
    • 1
  • Dongmei An
    • 2
  • Qiyong Gong
    • 3
  • Dong Zhou
    • 2
  • Huafu Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Neuroinformation of Ministry of Education, School of Life Science and TechnologyUniversity of Electronic Science and Technology of ChinaChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyWest China Hospital of Sichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyWest China Hospital of Sichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China

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