Functional network centrality in obesity: A resting-state and task fMRI study

Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;233(3):331-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.05.017. Epub 2015 Jun 19.


Obesity is associated with structural and functional alterations in brain areas that are often functionally distinct and anatomically distant. This suggests that obesity is associated with differences in functional connectivity of regions distributed across the brain. However, studies addressing whole brain functional connectivity in obesity remain scarce. Here, we compared voxel-wise degree centrality and eigenvector centrality between participants with obesity (n=20) and normal-weight controls (n=21). We analyzed resting state and task-related fMRI data acquired from the same individuals. Relative to normal-weight controls, participants with obesity exhibited reduced degree centrality in the right middle frontal gyrus in the resting-state condition. During the task fMRI condition, obese participants exhibited less degree centrality in the left middle frontal gyrus and the lateral occipital cortex along with reduced eigenvector centrality in the lateral occipital cortex and occipital pole. Our results highlight the central role of the middle frontal gyrus in the pathophysiology of obesity, a structure involved in several brain circuits signaling attention, executive functions and motor functions. Additionally, our analysis suggests the existence of task-dependent reduced centrality in occipital areas; regions with a role in perceptual processes and that are profoundly modulated by attention.

Keywords: Body-mass index; Brain; Functional connectivity; Graph analysis; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / metabolism
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Occipital Lobe / metabolism*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Young Adult