The correlation of asymmetrical functional connectivity with cognition and reperfusion in carotid stenosis patients

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Objective: Neural disruption and cognitive impairment have been reported in patients with carotid stenosis (CS), but carotid artery stenting (CAS) may not contribute to the cognitive recovery. Although functional hyper-connectivity is one of the physiological over-compensation phenomena in neurological diseases, the literature on the cognitive influence of functional hyper-connectivity in CS patients is limited. We aimed to investigate the longitudinal changes of hyper-connectivity after CAS and its association with cognition in CS patients. Methods: Thirteen patients with unilateral CS and 17 controls without CS were included. Cognitive function was evaluated at baseline, and resting-state functional MRI was performed 1 week before and 1 month and 1 year after CAS. Comparisons of functional connectivity (FC) between CS patients and controls in multiple brain networks were performed. Results: In patients before CAS, FC in the cerebral hemispheres ipsilateral and contralateral to CS was mainly decreased and increased, respectively, compared with normal controls. Part of the FC alterations gradually recovered to the normal condition after CAS. The stronger FC abnormality (both hypo- and hyper-connectivity compared with normal controls) was associated with poorer cognitive performances, especially in memory and executive functions. Conclusion: The study demonstrated the lateralization of hyper-connectivity and hypo-connectivity in patients with unilateral CS in contrast to the FC in normal controls. These FC alterations were associated with poor cognitive performances and tended to recover after CAS, implying that hyper-connectivity is served as a compensation for neural challenge.




Huang, K. L., Chang, T. Y., Ho, M. Y., Chen, W. H., Yeh, M. Y., Chang, Y. J., … Wu, C. W. (2018). The correlation of asymmetrical functional connectivity with cognition and reperfusion in carotid stenosis patients. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20, 476–484.

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