Research Article: Altered Functional Connectivity and Small-World in Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Date Published: January 8, 2010

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Wei Liao, Zhiqiang Zhang, Zhengyong Pan, Dante Mantini, Jurong Ding, Xujun Duan, Cheng Luo, Guangming Lu, Huafu Chen, Pedro Antonio Valdes-Sosa.

Abstract: The functional architecture of the human brain has been extensively described in terms of functional connectivity networks, detected from the low–frequency coherent neuronal fluctuations that can be observed in a resting state condition. Little is known, so far, about the changes in functional connectivity and in the topological properties of functional networks, associated with different brain diseases.

Partial Text: Human brain function is thought to rely on the two principles of functional specialization and integration. Functional integration is implemented by the complex and reciprocal neural networks in the brain. Brain networks have been depicted in terms of functional connectivity by electroencephalography (EEG) [1], magnetoencephalography (MEG) [2] and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) [3]–[5], and in terms of structural connectivity by diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) [6], diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) [7] and morphological studies [8].

By using functional connectivity and graph theoretical techniques, the present fMRI study investigated the global alterations of network properties in mTLE. The increased and decreased functional connectivity observed in specific regions might underlie the functional disruptions described in previous studies [14]–[17]. More importantly, the changes in the global topological properties including the smaller degree of connectivity, the increased n-to-1 connectivity, the smaller absolute clustering coefficients and the shorter absolute path length along with small-world properties, implicate altered whole brain network macroscopic organization [2], [3], [5], [49], [53], which extends the understanding of network mechanisms in mTLE from local characteristics to global topological properties.



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