Caeyenberghs, K., Leemans, A., Leunissen, I., Michiels, K. & Swinnen, SP. (2013). Topological correlations of structural and functional networks in patients with traumatic brain injury. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,7 1-11. Switzerland: Frontiers Research Foundation. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00726
Despite an increasing amount of specific correlation studies between structural and functional connectivity, there is still a need for combined studies, especially in pathological conditions. Impairments of brain white matter ( WM ) and diffuse axonal injuries are commonly suspected to be responsible for the disconnection hypothesis in traumatic brain injury ( TBI ) patients. Moreover, our previous research on TBI patients shows a strong relationship between abnormalities in topological organization of brain networks and behavioral deficits. In this study, we combined task-related functional connectivity ( using event-related fMRI ) with structural connectivity ( derived from fiber tractography using diffusion MRI data ) estimates in the same participants ( 17 adults with TBI and 16 controls ), allowing for direct comparison between graph metrics of the different imaging modalities. Connectivity matrices were computed covering the switching motor network, which includes the basal ganglia, anterior cingulate cortex/supplementary motor area, and anterior insula/inferior frontal gyrus. The edges constituting this network consisted of the partial correlations between the fMRI time series from each node of the switching motor network. The interregional anatomical connections between the switching-related areas were determined using the fiber tractography results. We found that graph metrics and hubs obtained showed no agreement in both groups. The topological properties of brain functional networks could not be solely accounted for by the properties of the underlying structural networks. However, combining complementary information from both imaging modalities could improve accuracy in prediction of switching performance. Direct comparison between functional task-related and anatomical structural connectivity, presented here for the first time in TBI patients, links two powerful approaches to map the patterns of brain connectivity that may underlie behavioral deficits in brain-injured patients.
Open Access Journal Article