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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

Backbone networks for the NC and EB groups.
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pone-0007228-g004: Backbone networks for the NC and EB groups.

Mentions: We identified the population-based backbone network of each group separately. Figure 4 reveals that the control and early blind groups have similar connection patterns in 90 regions, but that the early blind group has a sparser matrix than the control group (sparsity of NC: 0.0649; sparsity of EB: 0.0562, reduced 13.4%). This finding suggests fewer anatomical connections in the early blind group at the same threshold. This is also consistent with the above result that showed a significantly reduced degree of connectivity in the early blind.


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)

Backbone networks for the NC and EB groups.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0007228-g004: Backbone networks for the NC and EB groups.
Mentions: We identified the population-based backbone network of each group separately. Figure 4 reveals that the control and early blind groups have similar connection patterns in 90 regions, but that the early blind group has a sparser matrix than the control group (sparsity of NC: 0.0649; sparsity of EB: 0.0562, reduced 13.4%). This finding suggests fewer anatomical connections in the early blind group at the same threshold. This is also consistent with the above result that showed a significantly reduced degree of connectivity in the early blind.

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