Functional brain connectome in posterior cortical atrophy

Neuroimage Clin. 2020:25:102100. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2019.102100. Epub 2019 Nov 20.


This study investigated the functional brain connectome architecture in patients with Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA). Eighteen PCA patients and 29 age- and sex- matched healthy controls were consecutively recruited in a specialized referral center. Participants underwent neurologic examination, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination for Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers, cognitive assessment, and brain MRI. For a smaller subset of participants, FDG-PET examination was available. We assessed topological brain network properties and regional functional connectivity as well as intra- and inter-hemispheric connectivity, using graph analysis and connectomics. Supplementary analyses were performed to explore the association between the CSF AD profile and the connectome status, and taking into account hypometabolic, atrophic, and spared regions (nodes). PCA patients showed diffuse functional connectome alterations at both global and regional level, as well as a connectivity breakdown between the posterior brain nodes. They had a widespread loss of both intra- and inter-hemispheric connections, exceeding the structural damage, and including the frontal connections. In PCA, connectome alterations were identified in all the brain nodes irrespectively of their structural and metabolic classification and were associated with a connectivity breakdown between damaged and spared areas. Taken together, these findings suggest the potentially high sensitivity of graph-analysis and connectomic in capturing the progression and maybe early signs of neurodegeneration in PCA patients.

Keywords: Functional connectivity; Graph analysis; Human connectome; Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex* / physiopathology
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net* / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net* / physiopathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / physiopathology