Functional Connectivity Changes of the Visual Cortex in the Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Patients: A Resting-State fMRI Study

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2020 Mar 1;45(5):E272-E279. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003245.


Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Objective: To analyze altered functional connectivity (FC) in the visual cortex of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) patients using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Summary of background data: We previously showed changes in visual cortex neural activity in CSM patients.

Methods: Thirty CSM patients and 20 healthy controls were recruited. MR data were collected using a 3.0 T MR. FC of the regions of interest (ROI) (Brodmann areas [BA] 17/18/19/7) were calculated in a voxel-wise manner and compared between groups. Correlation analyses were performed between preoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores and altered FC, as well as between preoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and altered FC. Furthermore, the FC where was compared between the preoperative and the postoperative CSM patients in an ROI-wise manner.

Results: Increased FC was found between BA19 and the cerebellum inferior lobe; between the left BA7 and bilateral calcarine, right lingual, right fusiform gyrus, and left precuneus (BA17); between the left BA7 and right fusiform gyrus and right inferior occipital gyrus (right BA19); and between the right BA7 and right superior lobe of cerebellum (right BA19) in CSM patients (P < 0.05). A negative correlation was found between JOA score and FC of the left and right BA19, and a positive correlation was found between the BCVA and FC of the left and right BA7 (P < 0.05). ROI analysis demonstrated statistically significant FC differences in between the preoperative and the postoperative CSM patients (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: FC changes were present in the visual cortex of CSM patients, which negatively correlated with preoperative JOA scores and positively correlated with preoperative BCVA. Significant recovery of FC in the visual cortex was detected in CSM patients postoperatively.

Level of evidence: 4.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rest / physiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spondylosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spondylosis / physiopathology
  • Visual Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology