Irregular structural networks of gray matter in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

  • Chuanlong Cao
  • Wanqing Liu
  • Qing ZhangEmail author
  • Jian-lin WuEmail author
  • Yumei Sun
  • Danyang Li
  • Hongyu Fan
  • Feifei Wang


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) induces dementia and cognitive decrements indicating the impairment of the central nervous system. While there is evidence showing abnormalities in white-matter structural networks in T2DM, the topological features of gray matter are still unknown. The study enrolled 30 right-handed T2DM patients and 20 healthy control subjects with matched age, gender, handedness, and education. Graph theoretical analysis of magnetic resonance imaging on gray matter volume was conducted to explore large-scale structural networks of brain. Although retaining small-worldness characteristics, the structural networks of grey matter in the T2DM group exhibited an increased clustering coefficient, prolonged characteristic path, decreased global efficiency, and more vulnerability to random failures or targeted attacks compared with controls. Additionally, the degree of structural networks in both T2DM and control groups was distributed exponentially in truncated power law. Our findings suggest that T2DM disturbed the overall topological features of gray matter networks, which provides a novel insight into the neurobiological mechanisms accounting for the cognitive impairment of T2DM patients.


Graph theory Structural networks Type 2 diabetes Network efficiency Network robustness Gray matter 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 81371526).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical statement

All procedures followed were in accordance with the national health and Family Planning Commission “biomedical research involving human ethics review approach” (the National Health Commission Order No. 11), “Helsinki declaration” of the World Medical Association, the ethical principle of CIOMS “International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects”. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Supplementary material

11682_2019_70_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (3.3 mb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 3378 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chuanlong Cao
    • 1
  • Wanqing Liu
    • 1
  • Qing Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jian-lin Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yumei Sun
    • 1
  • Danyang Li
    • 1
  • Hongyu Fan
    • 1
  • Feifei Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyAffiliated Zhongshan Hospital of Dalian UniversityDalianChina
  2. 2.Department of MRIThe First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouChina

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