EPMA Journal

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 249–259 | Cite as

The predictive potential of altered spontaneous brain activity patterns in diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy

  • Yu Wang
  • Yi Shao
  • Wen-Qing Shi
  • Lei Jiang
  • Xiao-yu Wang
  • Pei-Wen Zhu
  • Qing Yuan
  • Ge GaoEmail author
  • Jin-Lei LvEmail author
  • Gong-Xian Wang



The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) fMRI technique was used to study the changes of spontaneous brain activity in patients with diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy (DRN), and to explore the application of ALFF technique in the potential prediction and the targeted prevention of diabetic microangiopathy.


Nineteen patients with diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy and 19 healthy controls (HCs) were matched for age and gender. Spontaneous cerebral activity variations were investigated using the ALFF technique. The average ALFF values of the DRN patients and the HCs were classified utilizing receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.


In contrast to the results in the HCs, the patients with DRN had significantly higher ALFF values in the cerebellum (bilaterally in the posterior and anterior lobes) and the left inferior temporal gyrus, but the ALFF values of the bilateral medial frontal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus, left middle/inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral precuneus, and left inferior parietal lobule were lower. ROC curve analysis of each brain region showed the accuracy of AUC was excellent. However, the mean ALFF values in the different regions did not correlate with clinical performance. The subjects showed abnormal neuronal synchronization in many areas of the brain, which is consistent with cognitive and visual functional deficits.


Abnormal spontaneous activity was detected in many areas of the brain, which may provide useful information for understanding the pathology of DRN. Abnormal ALFF values of these brain regions may be of predictive value in the development of early DRN and be a targeted intervention indicator for individualized treatment of diabetic microvascular diseases.


Predictive preventive personalized medicine ALFF fMRI Diabetic retinopathy Diabetic nephropathy Diabetic microvascular diseases Resting state Spontaneous brain activity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Ethical approval

All the patients were informed about the purposes of the study and consequently have signed their “consent of the patient.” All investigations conformed to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki and were performed with permission by the responsible Ethics Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University.


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Copyright information

© European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalised Medicine (EPMA) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NephrologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang UniversityNanchangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang UniversityNanchangChina
  3. 3.Department of General SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang UniversityNanchangPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Urinary SurgeryThe First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang UniversityNanchangChina

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