Altered modular organization of intrinsic brain functional networks in patients with Parkinson’s disease
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Although previous studies reported altered topology of brain functional networks in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the modular organization of brain functional networks in PD patients remains largely unknown. Using the resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) and graph theory, we examined the modular organization of brain functional networks in 32 unmedicated patients with early-to-mid motor stage PD and 31 healthy controls. Compared to the controls, the PD patients tended to show decreased integrity and segregation, both within and between modules. This was inferred by significantly increased intra-modular characteristic path length (L p) within four modules: mPFC, SN, SMN, and FPN, decreased inter-modular functional connectivity (FC) between mPFC and SN, SMN, and VN, and decreased intra-modular clustering in the PD patients. Intra-modular characteristic path length within the mPFC showed significantly positive correlation with general cognitive ability in the PD group. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis revealed that FC between mPFC and SN had the highest significant accuracy in differentiating the patients from the controls. Our findings may provide new insight in understanding the pathological changes that underlie impairment in cognition and movement in Parkinson’s disease.
KeywordsModularity Graph theory Medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) Salience network (SN)
Medial prefrontal cortex
Default mode network
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant numbers: 81271548, 81271560, 81371535, 81428013, and 81471654), and Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (No. LZ13C090001).
Conflict of interest
All of the authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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