J Headache Pain 2019 Apr 17;20(1):36. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
Department of Neurology and Jiuyuan Municipal Stroke Center, Shanghai Ninth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 639 Zhizaoju Road, Shanghai, 200011, People's Republic of China.
Background: Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) mainly manifests with cognitive impairment. Cognitive deficits in patients with CADASIL are correlated with structural brain changes such as lacunar lesion burden, normalized brain volume, and anterior thalamic radiation lesions, but changes in resting-state functional brain activity in patients with CADASIL have not been reported.
Methods: This study used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) in 22 patients with CADASIL and 44 healthy matched controls. A seed-based functional connectivity (FC) analysis was used to investigate whether the dysfunctional areas identified by ALFF analysis exhibited abnormal FC with other brain areas. Pearson's correlation analysis was used to detect correlations between the ALFF z-score of abnormal brain areas and clinical scores in patients with CADASIL.
Results: Patients with CADASIL exhibited significantly lower ALFF values in the right precuneus and cuneus (Pcu/CU) and higher ALFF values in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus (SFG) and left cerebellar anterior and posterior lobes compared with controls. Patients with CADASIL showed weaker FC between the areas with abnormal ALFF (using peaks in the left and right SFG and the right Pcu/CU) and other brain areas. Importantly, the ALFF z-scores for the left and right SFG were negatively associated with cognitive performance, including Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores (MoCA), respectively, whereas those of the right Pcu/CU were positively correlated with the MMSE score.
Conclusions: This preliminary study provides evidence for changes in ALFF of the right Pcu/CU, bilateral SFG and left cerebellar anterior and posterior lobes, and associations between ALFF values for abnormal brain areas and cognitive performance in patients with CADASIL. Therefore, spontaneous brain activity may be a novel imaging biomarker of cognitive impairment in this population.