Dynamic functional network connectivity (dFNC) is an expansion of traditional, static FNC that measures connectivity variation among brain networks throughout scan duration. We used a large resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) sample from the PREDICT-HD study (N = 183 Huntington disease gene mutation carriers [HDgmc] and N = 78 healthy control [HC] participants) to examine whole-brain dFNC and its associations with CAG repeat length as well as the product of scaled CAG length and age, a variable representing disease burden. We also tested for relationships between functional connectivity and motor and cognitive measurements. Group independent component analysis was applied to rs-fMRI data to obtain whole-brain resting state networks. FNC was defined as the correlation between RSN time-courses. Dynamic FNC behavior was captured using a sliding time window approach, and FNC results from each window were assigned to four clusters representing FNC states, using a k-means clustering algorithm. HDgmc individuals spent significantly more time in State-1 (the state with the weakest FNC pattern) compared to HC. However, overall HC individuals showed more FNC dynamism than HDgmc. Significant associations between FNC states and genetic and clinical variables were also identified. In FNC State-4 (the one that most resembled static FNC), HDgmc exhibited significantly decreased connectivity between the putamen and medial prefrontal cortex compared to HC, and this was significantly associated with cognitive performance. In FNC State-1, disease burden in HDgmc participants was significantly associated with connectivity between the postcentral gyrus and posterior cingulate cortex, as well as between the inferior occipital gyrus and posterior parietal cortex.
Keywords: Huntington's disease; dynamic functional network connectivity; group independent component analysis; resting-state fMRI.
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