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Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 559–568 | Cite as

Alterations in default-mode network connectivity may be influenced by cerebrovascular changes within 1 week of sports related concussion in college varsity athletes: a pilot study

  • Adam R. Militana
  • Manus J. Donahue
  • Allen K. Sills
  • Gary S. Solomon
  • Andrew J. Gregory
  • Megan K. Strother
  • Victoria L. MorganEmail author
Original Research

Abstract

The goal of this pilot study is to use complementary MRI strategies to quantify and relate cerebrovascular reactivity, resting cerebral blood flow and functional connectivity alterations in the first week following sports concussion in college varsity athletes. Seven college athletes (3F/4M, age = 19.7 ± 1.2 years) were imaged 3–6 days following a diagnosed sports related concussion and compared to eleven healthy controls with no history of concussion (5M/6F, 18–23 years, 7 athletes). Cerebrovascular reactivity and functional connectivity were measured using functional MRI during a hypercapnia challenge and via resting-state regional partial correlations, respectively. Resting cerebral blood flow was quantified using arterial spin labeling MRI methods. Group comparisons were made within and between 18 regions of interest. Cerebrovascular reactivity was increased after concussion when averaged across all regions of interest (p = 0.04), and within some default-mode network regions, the anterior cingulate and the right thalamus (p < 0.05) independently. The FC was increased in the concussed athletes within the default-mode network including the left and right hippocampus, precuneus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (p < 0.01), with measures being linearly related to cerebrovascular reactivity in the hippocampus in the concussed athletes. Significant resting cerebral blood flow changes were not detected between the two groups. This study provides evidence for increased cerebrovascular reactivity and functional connectivity in the medial regions of the default-mode network within days of a single sports related concussion in college athletes. Our findings emphasize the utility of complementary cerebrovascular measures in the interpretation of alterations in functional connectivity following concussion.

Keywords

Concussion Cerebrovascular reactivity Cerebral blood flow Functional MRI Functional connectivity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported in part by Vanderbilt CTSA grant UL1 TR000445 from NCRR/NIH (Morgan).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Funding

This work was supported in part by Vanderbilt CTSA grant UL1 TR000445 from NCRR/NIH (Morgan).

Conflict of interest

Adam R. Militana, Manus J. Donahue, Allen K. Sills, Gary S. Solomon, Andrew J. Gregory, Megan K. Strother, and Victoria L. Morgan declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Vanderbilt University 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 participants included in this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam R. Militana
    • 1
  • Manus J. Donahue
    • 1
  • Allen K. Sills
    • 2
  • Gary S. Solomon
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Gregory
    • 3
  • Megan K. Strother
    • 1
  • Victoria L. Morgan
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Radiological SciencesVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of OrthopedicsVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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