Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 526–540 | Cite as

Abnormal rich club organization and impaired correlation between structural and functional connectivity in migraine sufferers

  • Kang Li
  • Lijun Liu
  • Qin Yin
  • Wanghuan Dun
  • Xiaolin Xu
  • Jixin Liu
  • Ming Zhang
Original Research


Because of the unique position of the topologically central role of densely interconnected brain hubs, our study aimed to investigate whether these regions and their related connections would be particularly vulnerable to migraine. In our study, we explored the rich club structure and its role in global functional dynamics in 30 patients with migraine without aura and 30 healthy controls. DTI and resting fMRI were used to construct structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) networks. An independent replication data set of 26 patients and 26 controls was included to replicate and validate significant findings. As compared with the controls, the structural networks of patients exhibited altered rich club organization with higher level of feeder connection density, abnormal small-world organization with increased global efficiency and decreased strength of SC-FC coupling. As these abnormal topological properties and headache attack duration exhibited a significant association with increased density of feeder connections, our results indicated that migraine may be characterized by a selective alteration of the structural connectivity of the rich club regions, tending to have higher ‘bridgeness’ with non-rich club regions, which may increase the integration among pain-related brain circuits with more excitability but less inhibition for the modulation of migraine.


Brain structural connectome Migraine Network efficiency Rich club organization 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 81471737, 81571640, and 81371530; and the Basic and Cutting-edge Research (plan) Project of Commission of Science and Technology, Chong Qing (cstc2014jcyjA10120); and the Medical Scientific Research (plan) Project of Health and Family Planning Commission of Chong Qing (2012-2-187) (20142089).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Kang Li, Lijun Liu, Qin Yin, Wanghuan Dun, Xiaolin Xu, Jixin Liu, Ming Zhang declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Ethical statements

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical ImagingFirst Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Radiology DepartmentChong Qing General HospitalChong QingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyThe Second Hospital of YulinShaanxi ProvincePeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.School of Life Science and TechnologyXidian UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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