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Altered anatomical network in early blindness revealed by diffusion tensor tractography.

Shu N, Liu Y, Li J, Li Y, Yu C, Jiang T - PLoS ONE (2009)

Bottom Line: Compared with controls, early blind subjects showed a decreased degree of connectivity, a reduced global efficiency, and an increased characteristic path length in their brain anatomical network, especially in the visual cortex.Moreover, we revealed some regions with motor or somatosensory function have increased connections with other brain regions in the early blind, which suggested experience-dependent compensatory plasticity.From the results, we suggest that analyzing the brain's anatomical network obtained using diffusion MRI data provides new insights into the understanding of the brain's re-organization in the specific population with early visual deprivation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: LIAMA Center for Computational Medicine, National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China.

ABSTRACT
The topological architecture of the cerebral anatomical network reflects the structural organization of the human brain. Recently, topological measures based on graph theory have provided new approaches for quantifying large-scale anatomical networks. Diffusion MRI studies have revealed the efficient small-world properties and modular structure of the anatomical network in normal subjects. However, no previous study has used diffusion MRI to reveal changes in the brain anatomical network in early blindness. Here, we utilized diffusion tensor imaging to construct binary anatomical networks for 17 early blind subjects and 17 age- and gender-matched sighted controls. We established the existence of structural connections between any pair of the 90 cortical and sub-cortical regions using deterministic tractography. Compared with controls, early blind subjects showed a decreased degree of connectivity, a reduced global efficiency, and an increased characteristic path length in their brain anatomical network, especially in the visual cortex. Moreover, we revealed some regions with motor or somatosensory function have increased connections with other brain regions in the early blind, which suggested experience-dependent compensatory plasticity. This study is the first to show alterations in the topological properties of the anatomical network in early blindness. From the results, we suggest that analyzing the brain's anatomical network obtained using diffusion MRI data provides new insights into the understanding of the brain's re-organization in the specific population with early visual deprivation.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Cortical regions with altered topological properties in early blind subjects (p<0.05).Blue: regions with decreased Ki and Ei_glob and increased Li in the early blind; Red: regions with increased Ki and Ei_glob in the early blind; Top: left hemisphere (LH); Bottom: right hemisphere (RH).
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pone-0007228-g003: Cortical regions with altered topological properties in early blind subjects (p<0.05).Blue: regions with decreased Ki and Ei_glob and increased Li in the early blind; Red: regions with increased Ki and Ei_glob in the early blind; Top: left hemisphere (LH); Bottom: right hemisphere (RH).

Mentions: Since the global properties, Lp, Eglob and Kp of the anatomical network were significantly altered in the early blind group, we further investigated the distribution of the regions which showed significant differences in these topological properties. For each brain region, we used a two-sample two-tailed t-test to detect statistical differences in the nodal properties between groups, and selected the statistical thresholds at three different p values (0.05, 0.01 and 0.005) (Figure 2). The Li, Ei_glob and Ki were significantly altered in many brain regions, especially in the inferior frontal and occipital lobes (Figure 2, 3).


Altered anatomical network in early blindness revealed by diffusion tensor tractography.

Shu N, Liu Y, Li J, Li Y, Yu C, Jiang T - PLoS ONE (2009)

Cortical regions with altered topological properties in early blind subjects (p<0.05).Blue: regions with decreased Ki and Ei_glob and increased Li in the early blind; Red: regions with increased Ki and Ei_glob in the early blind; Top: left hemisphere (LH); Bottom: right hemisphere (RH).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2747271&req=5

pone-0007228-g003: Cortical regions with altered topological properties in early blind subjects (p<0.05).Blue: regions with decreased Ki and Ei_glob and increased Li in the early blind; Red: regions with increased Ki and Ei_glob in the early blind; Top: left hemisphere (LH); Bottom: right hemisphere (RH).
Mentions: Since the global properties, Lp, Eglob and Kp of the anatomical network were significantly altered in the early blind group, we further investigated the distribution of the regions which showed significant differences in these topological properties. For each brain region, we used a two-sample two-tailed t-test to detect statistical differences in the nodal properties between groups, and selected the statistical thresholds at three different p values (0.05, 0.01 and 0.005) (Figure 2). The Li, Ei_glob and Ki were significantly altered in many brain regions, especially in the inferior frontal and occipital lobes (Figure 2, 3).

Bottom Line: Compared with controls, early blind subjects showed a decreased degree of connectivity, a reduced global efficiency, and an increased characteristic path length in their brain anatomical network, especially in the visual cortex.Moreover, we revealed some regions with motor or somatosensory function have increased connections with other brain regions in the early blind, which suggested experience-dependent compensatory plasticity.From the results, we suggest that analyzing the brain's anatomical network obtained using diffusion MRI data provides new insights into the understanding of the brain's re-organization in the specific population with early visual deprivation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: LIAMA Center for Computational Medicine, National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China.

ABSTRACT
The topological architecture of the cerebral anatomical network reflects the structural organization of the human brain. Recently, topological measures based on graph theory have provided new approaches for quantifying large-scale anatomical networks. Diffusion MRI studies have revealed the efficient small-world properties and modular structure of the anatomical network in normal subjects. However, no previous study has used diffusion MRI to reveal changes in the brain anatomical network in early blindness. Here, we utilized diffusion tensor imaging to construct binary anatomical networks for 17 early blind subjects and 17 age- and gender-matched sighted controls. We established the existence of structural connections between any pair of the 90 cortical and sub-cortical regions using deterministic tractography. Compared with controls, early blind subjects showed a decreased degree of connectivity, a reduced global efficiency, and an increased characteristic path length in their brain anatomical network, especially in the visual cortex. Moreover, we revealed some regions with motor or somatosensory function have increased connections with other brain regions in the early blind, which suggested experience-dependent compensatory plasticity. This study is the first to show alterations in the topological properties of the anatomical network in early blindness. From the results, we suggest that analyzing the brain's anatomical network obtained using diffusion MRI data provides new insights into the understanding of the brain's re-organization in the specific population with early visual deprivation.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus